.Matt Kemp Joins Miami on Minor League Deal
It has been a storied and well-documented career for veteran Matt Kemp and as of now, that story continues in Miami. The Miami Marlins and Kemp officially agreed on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Looking For A Revival
It’s been no secret that the Miami Marlins are looking for an impact bat for the upcoming 2020 season. They are also looking to add veteran talent to the roster and that’s where Kemp could come into play. Along with his connection to manager Don Mattingly, Kemp appears to be a strong fit for the team.
The Marlins of course along with Kemp will try and forget a miserable 2019 campaign for the 2011 NL MVP. A campaign that included hitting just .200/.210/.283 in 20 games with Cincinnati after being dealt to the Reds with Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood. Unfortunately for Kemp, things got worse from there as he was released on May 4th. The 35-year old was then given a chance with the New York Mets on a minor league deal. Due to a rib injury, however, things never got off the ground in New York for Kemp and he was released on July 12.
Should Kemp make a successful run back into major league baseball, the Marlins will be hoping he returns to his 2018 form. That was a revival year for Kemp who held a .818 OPS through 146 games. He earned his first All-Star selection since 2012 hitting .290/.338/.818. Kemp also slammed home 46 extra-base hits along with 84 RBI.
Miami is desperately searching for a productive outfielder after their collective outfield bats totaled an OPS of just .689. That OPS ranked second-worst in Major League Baseball. Collectively they may have come together for 295 RBI as a group, but no individual within the Marlins outfield collected more than 66 RBI in 2019.
Matt Kemp’s journey in the professional ranks began as a sixth-round pick for the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 2003. After three years in the minor leagues, Kemp Made his MLB debut on May 28 of 2006. Some of Kemps’s most productive years came during the flailing ownership by Frank McCourt. McCourt just about drove the team into bankruptcy. In fact, in Kemp’s 2011 season he earned an MVP honor. In addition, Kemp made an All-Star game appearance, a gold glove, and a silver slugger honor.
Kemp was a cornerstone for the Dodgers’ turnaround beginning in 2012. He departed prior to their World Series run beginning in 2017. His run with the Dodgers ended after being traded to the San Diego Padres in 2015 and then partway through the 2016 campaign was traded to the Atlanta Braves. Both seasons were rebuilding years for both teams but once 2018 rolled around, it was back to a familiar scene for Kemp. After Alex Anthopolous took the reigns as the Braves new GM, his connections with the Dodgers fostered a return to Los Angeles for Kemp via another trade.
Throughout his 14 year career at the MLB level, Kemp has hit .285/.337/.485 with an OPS of .822. Kemp has clobbered 281 career home runs and posted eleven seasons with a positive WAR and a career WAR total of 21.2.
This move no matter how you look at it has it’s positives. Within an organization desperate for veteran leadership, Kemp can fill that void. If he can produce even half of what he did during his productive years, the Marlins outfield will only benefit. It’s not a great scene in Miami right now but Kemp has helped one team make a turn towards dominance. What are the chances he can do it again?