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Cubs acquire prospect Rivas, deal Kemp to A's

@MLBastian
January 13, 2020

CHICAGO -- The Cubs do not have a concrete plan in place for second base or their utility bench roles, but the club does have a list of candidates to sort through this spring. On Monday, Chicago reduced the field by one via trade. The Cubs dealt utility man Tony

CHICAGO -- The Cubs do not have a concrete plan in place for second base or their utility bench roles, but the club does have a list of candidates to sort through this spring. On Monday, Chicago reduced the field by one via trade.

The Cubs dealt utility man Tony Kemp to the A's in exchange for first-base prospect Alfonso Rivas, who has shown strong on-base potential with a gap-oriented swing. Rivas is not on Chicago's 40-man roster, which now sits at 38 with less than one month until pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz., for Spring Training.

TRADE DETAILS
Cubs get: 1B Alfonso Rivas
A's get: OF Tony Kemp

Kemp would have been a bench candidate -- used at second base and around the outfield -- but his being out of Minor League options serves as an obstacle for the Cubs' roster flexibility. Chicago will be looking at top prospect Nico Hoerner and David Bote as candidates for second base, with Daniel Descalso, Robel Garcia and Ian Happ also giving the Cubs 40-man options as utility players.

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While the Cubs have not officially announced their list of non-roster invitees, it has been reported that Hernán Pérez and Carlos Asuaje will also be in camp as utility candidates on Minor League deals.

The 23-year-old Rivas -- who was ranked No. 26 by MLB Pipeline on the A's Top 30 Prospects list -- was taken in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft by Oakland out of the University of Arizona. At the time Rivas was drafted, Dan Kantrovitz, the Cubs' new vice president of scouting, worked in Oakland's front office.

In 122 games between Class A (Advanced) Stockton and Triple-A Las Vegas last season, the lefty-swinging Rivas hit .292/.387/.423 with nine homers, 26 doubles, 60 RBIs and 68 walks. He hit .406 (13-for-32) in eight games down the stretch at Triple-A and then hit at a .306 clip with an .866 OPS in 15 games for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League.

MLB Pipeline's scouting report on Rivas says that, "if he can develop to the point of producing 15 homers annually, he could max out as a Mark Grace-type first baseman."

The Cubs acquired Kemp from the Astros at the July 31 Trade Deadline last summer in exchange for catcher Martín Maldonado in order to add a contact-based bat to the bench. In 44 games with the North Siders, Kemp hit .183 with a .563 OPS, dropping his production to a .212 average and .671 OPS in 110 games between Houston and Chicago in '19.

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.