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Kemp, Marlins agree on Minor League deal

Veteran slugger among nine to receive invites to Spring Training
@cdenicola13
December 18, 2019

MIAMI -- Veteran outfielder Matt Kemp was among the first group of non-roster invitees announced by the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon. The list also includes catchers Ryan Lavarnway, Santiago Chávez, B.J. López and Brian Navarreto, infielders Gosuke Katoh and Christian Lopes and right-handers Aaron Northcraft and Josh A. Smith. They,

MIAMI -- Veteran outfielder Matt Kemp was among the first group of non-roster invitees announced by the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon.

The list also includes catchers Ryan Lavarnway, Santiago Chávez, B.J. López and Brian Navarreto, infielders Gosuke Katoh and Christian Lopes and right-handers Aaron Northcraft and Josh A. Smith. They, along with Kemp, signed Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

Kemp posted a slash line of .200/.210/.283 with one homer in 20 games with the Reds this past season before being released in early May. He signed with the Mets later that month, but he was released again on July 12. Kemp spent time on both the Major and Minor League injured lists in 2019.

Over a 14-year big league career, Kemp is a .285/.337/.485 hitter with 281 homers. A three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove Award winner and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, he would be reunited with former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

Kemp received the MLB Players Choice Award for National League Comeback Player in 2018 after an All-Star campaign with the Dodgers that included no injured list stints and 1.6 WAR per FanGraphs. The Marlins will be Kemp’s sixth organization since ’16.

The 35-year-old Kemp appeared at last week's Winter Meetings in San Diego, where Miami expressed interest in acquiring at least one more impact batter, most likely an outfielder, to serve as a placeholder until top prospects like Monte Harrison and Jesús Sánchez are MLB-ready. The Marlins have also been tied to free agents Corey Dickerson and Kole Calhoun, both of whom are left-handed hitters that would help balance out a right-handed-heavy lineup.

Miami is also in the market for catching depth. Jorge Alfaro and Chad Wallach, who missed most of 2019 due to concussion symptoms, are the only backstops on the 40-man roster. During the Triple-A Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Marlins selected Julian Leon from the Angels' organization.

Christina De Nicola is a reporter and game producer for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.