The Cincinnati Reds abruptly severed ties with Matt Kemp over the weekend by releasing the veteran outfielder. The move came a mere four months after Kemp was acquired in a seven-player trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Reds have released injured outfielder Matt Kemp just over four months after acquiring the 2018 All-Star from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kemp appeared in just 20 games for Cincinnati, but missed 11 in a row at the time of being cut after suffering a broken rib as a result of crashing into the wall at Petco Park on April 21.
Kemp hit a lowly .200/.210/.283 with two doubles, one home run and five RBI prior to landing on the 10-day injured list. His release nonetheless led to speculation the Dodgers could have some interest, given their struggles against left-handed pitching and A.J. Pollock’s elbow surgery.
The topic was broached with manager Dave Roberts. “Is that right? Is he from Cincinnati? From Oklahoma, played for the Reds,” Roberts responded with a smile when asked if he had caught wind of the latest right-handed bat to hit the open market.
“There’s a lot of good players out there. Thanks for the heads up.”
Since Roberts’ comments, the Dodgers signed Travis d’Arnaud as a third catcher who may additionally see time in the infield and left field. While it doesn’t fully preclude possibly reuniting with Kemp, the path to doing so isn’t quite as clear.
Kemp enjoyed an All-Star campaign with the Dodgers last season, providing power from the right side to the tune of 21 doubles, 25 home runs and 85 RBI.
He is in the final season of an eight-year, $160 million contract extension signed prior to the 2012 campaign. The Dodgers included $7 million in their trade with the Reds, who are otherwise responsible for $14.5 million of Kemp’s salary.
Any contract the 34-year-old may receive would presumably be for the prorated league minimum and only the remainder of the 2019 season.