DENVER -- The Rockies have signed three-time All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp to a Minor League contract, the team announced on Saturday. GM Jeff Bridich said that the deal was in the final stages on Tuesday, a day after outfielder Ian Desmond announced that he is electing not to play in
DENVER -- The Rockies have signed three-time All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp to a Minor League contract, the team announced on Saturday. GM Jeff Bridich said that the deal was in the final stages on Tuesday, a day after outfielder Ian Desmond announced that he is electing not to play in 2020.
Kemp, who will wear No. 25 with the Rockies, figures to be part of the team’s left field and designated hitter picture.
Kemp was in Spring Training with the Marlins under a Minor League contract and batted .143 in 11 games, and he was not included in Miami's player pool for summer camp. Bridich said the Rockies pursued Kemp during the winter.
Kemp spent 10 of his 14 seasons with the Dodgers, over two stints. He represented them in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games during his first term, and in 2018. Much of Kemp’s damage has come against the Rockies -- to the tune of a .314 batting average, .365 on-base percentage, 46 home runs and 154 RBIs in 663 at-bats.
“We’re well aware of the damage that he’s done against us,” Bridich said. “It’s a Minor League contract. It is an opportunity for him. He does not want to see an end to his long career anytime soon. He’s very much looking for an opportunity to contribute in any way he can contribute.”
With Kemp's addition, the Rockies’ Summer Camp player pool is at 53 players, toward a 60-player limit. Colorado has already announced that right-handed pitchers Wes Parsons and Tommy Doyle are set to join the team after the big league roster is determined, so the Rockies have five spots to play with.
Last season, Kemp appeared in 20 games for the Reds and hit .200 with one home run and five RBIs before being released. He joined the Mets on a Minor League contract, but was never promoted to the Majors.
In 1,707 career games, Kemp is a career .285 hitter with 281 home runs and 1,010 RBIs.
Three younger players will be vying for time in left: left-handed-hitting Raimel Tapia, 26, who batted .275 with nine home runs last year; Sam Hilliard, 26, who batted .273 with seven homers in his 27-game Major League debut last season; and right-handed-hitting Yonathan Daza, 26, who hit .206 last season in his 44-game debut.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.