Even Tobias Fünke can’t promote the Oakland Athletics fire sale well enough to describe what will probably happen when the MLB lockout ends. Just about everyone they have on a major league contract is seemingly available. Teams like the New York Mets have been patiently waiting to pounce and make a deal happen.
The Mets already went out and acquired two Athletics free agents, Starling Marte and Mark Canha. Added to the roster on the same day, it may have only been the start of them picking up players from Oakland.
Having already gone over the remaining free agents and top trade candidates on the team, another guy recently caught my eye. Has anyone realized just how good of a year Tony Kemp had in 2021 and why he’d be a good match for any team, including our dear Mets?
Tony Kemp is a Mets trade candidate we haven’t discussed yet
Last year was huge for Kemp. Until then, he had never reached 300 plate appearances in a season. A versatile utility man, he found himself a lot of second base and left field for the 2021 Athletics. Quietly, he batted .279/.382/.418 with 8 home runs in 397 trips to the plate.
It wasn’t a season to put him in the MVP race or even maybe win him a starting job in 2022. It was, however, more than enough to earn him some credibility.
Worth 3.4 WAR last season, Kemp began the year at zero. On the Mets, this would have been the fifth-best total of any player in 2021. I know it’s one season and we shouldn’t get too nuts about it. However, in any trade the Mets may end up doing with Oakland, adding Kemp into the mix wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
If you’re convinced Jeff McNeil is leaving, Kemp would seem to fill the role his absence would leave. Very different players, I do think the Mets like having a guy on the roster they can move around at a variety of spots.
McNeil probably won’t get traded to Oakland. It doesn’t make much sense for them to acquire anyone already arbitration-eligible. He could always be traded in a completely different trade or the Mets and Athletics could invite a third team to the party.
Kemp is in his second year of arbitration eligibility and while the sum he’ll receive won’t be anything substantial, the penny-pinching Athletics may still have an interest in dealing him away.