Per a team release, the Reds have released outfielder Matt Kemp, who’d been nursing a broken rib on the 10-Day IL.
Kemp, 34, was off to a dreadful .200/.210/.283 start in 62 plate appearances after an offensive rebound in 2018. Acquired in December from Los Angeles with Alex Wood and Yasiel Puig, the three-time all-star figured to be the chief platoon option for either Jesse Winker or Scott Schebler in left field, with occasional spot starts against righties mixed in. The team’s promotion of Nick Senzel, coupled with the slow offensive start across the board, has ostensibly kindled an urgent spark within the win-now organization.
Playing in the last year of an 8-year, $160MM extension signed prior to the 2012 season, a contract that’s seen Kemp shipped across the country, back, and back again, the 2011 NL MVP runner-up has mostly disappointed in his stops after a 2015 trade to San Diego. The move, one of the most lopsided of the decade, sent the then-30-year-old, along with the bulk of his behemoth salary, south to San Diego in exchange for four discounted years of Yasmani Grandal and eventual big-leaguer Zach Eflin. Warning signs were already flashing – Kemp’s defense in the few years prior had been horrific, and the slugger had already been dealing with nagging injuries to his ankle and shoulder.
He predictably cratered in San Diego, who quickly severed ties in a bad-contract swap with Atlanta for the rights to Cuban Hector Olivera, an infielder who’d never suit up for the team. Kemp didn’t fare much better in Georgia – another salary swap after ’17 sent him back to Los Angeles, where he made what may well be his final encore performance, slashing an excellent .290/.338/.481 (122 wRC+) in 506 plate appearances for LA.
The 34-year-old will almost certainly catch on with another club – Cleveland, again, may be among his most impassioned suitors – but a couple more months like this, and the 13-year-vet’s career could be in serious jeopardy.