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Reds release Kemp ... 'Didn't see a great fit'

Schebler sent to Triple-A; left-hander Reed recalled
May 5, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The Reds’ crowded outfield came into clearer focus Saturday when Matt Kemp was released and Scott Schebler, who has been struggling at the plate, was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Kemp, who was acquired from the Dodgers in December along with outfielder Yasiel Puig, utilityman Kyle Farmer, left-hander Alex

CINCINNATI -- The Reds’ crowded outfield came into clearer focus Saturday when Matt Kemp was released and Scott Schebler, who has been struggling at the plate, was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

Kemp, who was acquired from the Dodgers in December along with outfielder Yasiel Puig, utilityman Kyle Farmer, left-hander Alex Wood and cash, missed the past 11 games with a broken rib he suffered on April 21 when he ran into an outfield wall at San Diego.

The 34-year-old's role with the Dodgers was reduced in the latter stages of the 2018 season, and it was unclear following the trade where Kemp would fit in Cincinnati. Kemp played 20 games with the Reds and hit .200 with one home run and five RBIs over 60 at-bats.

There was talk of the Reds trading Kemp during the offseason, but no deal transpired. Kemp’s salary with the Dodgers was $21.5 million, with the Reds responsible for $14.5 million. The Reds also received $7 million from the Dodgers as part of the December deal.

The arrival of top prospect Nick Senzel, who debuted on Friday, and the production of the versatile Derek Dietrich off the bench forced the Reds’ hand.

“We just didn’t see a great fit for Matt here,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He’s obviously had a great career and has been a great player. Just how our outfield is shaping up and the roster construction, we didn’t see a great fit for Matt and that’s how the decision was made.”

Bell said the starting center-field job now belongs to Senzel, 23, who collected his first career hit on Friday and also showed signs of promise defensively.

“We’re going to treat Nick like we treat all our players, keep him healthy, keep him strong, get him in there most days,” Bell said. “There will be days when we’ll rest him, but he’s our starting center fielder. He’s an everyday player on this team. He’s new to the position. It’s not going to be perfect. We are very confident in the makeup he brings. We’re confident in the direction we’re going with him and the rest of the outfield.”

Schebler, meanwhile, remains in the Reds’ plans, but Bell said it’s important for him to spend some time in Minors to get himself right at the plate. Schebler is batting .123 with two homers and seven RBIs over 81 at-bats for Cincinnati. Left-hander Cody Reed was recalled from Triple-A to replace him on the roster, and he struck out four and allowed one hit in 2 1/3 innings in Saturday's 9-2 triumph.

“It’s been a tough month for him,” Bell said of Schebler. “We’re convinced that he’ll be better having gone through this month. We’re confident he’ll make the adjustments he needs to make to get back here. We need him here. The entire organization believes in him.”

With Jesse Winker in left, Puig in right, and Senzel in center, the Reds’ outfield is as stable as it has been in a long time. Dietrich, who can play a corner-outfield role, has hit seven homers -- including a pair of three-run shots in Friday’s game -- with 20 RBIs in 64 at-bats. Jose Peraza also is an outfield option off the bench.

“Overall, we’re excited to have Nick here,” Dietrich said. “His arrival has been long anticipated. He’s mature beyond his years. He gets it. I’m looking forward to playing alongside him. I like our outfield, with Puig and Jesse who has been hot lately, bringing the energy and the enthusiasm. We feed off that.”