6:07pm: The deal has been announced. Kemp is headed to the club’s spring facility at Port St. Lucie.
4:16pm: The Mets have agreed to a minors pact with veteran outfielder Matt Kemp, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). Terms of the deal aren’t known; it’s pending a physical. Kemp opened the season with the Reds but was released recently.
It’s rather surprising to see the 34-year-old land in New York, though a spate of injuries has challenged the organization’s depth situation. Veterans Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis had been camped at Triple-A to begin the year but were brought up to the majors to help fill in.
Kemp got off to a brutal start in Cincinnati, slashing just .200/.210/.283 with one home run (and just a single walk) in 62 plate appearances. He’s not much of a defender at this point of his career, so he needs to hit a fair bit to be a useful roster piece.
There’s certainly an argument to be made that Kemp would fit best on an American League team. For the Mets, though, this move is mostly about filling in the upper-minors outfield mix. It is still possible they’ll end up finding cause to bring Kemp up. Though he’s obviously no longer the star he was earlier in his career, Kemp did turn in a strong .290/.338/.481 slash in 506 plate appearances last year.