OAKLAND -- The A’s addressed their biggest remaining need on Monday with the acquisition of utility man Tony Kemp from the Cubs.
Sending Minor League infielder Alfonso Rivas to Chicago in exchange for Kemp, Oakland gets the left-handed hitter it has been searching for to help bring some balance to a righty-heavy offense.
Kemp, 28, has experience playing all three outfield positions in addition to second base. While the A’s are likely to take advantage of that versatility at times throughout the season, most of Kemp’s playing time should come at second, a position at which Oakland remains without a primary starter following its trade of Jurickson Profar to the Padres last month.
Starting the 2019 season with the Astros before getting dealt to the Cubs at the Trade Deadline, Kemp combined to slash .212/.291/.380 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs over 110 games. He’s a career .233 hitter over four big league seasons, and will enter Spring Training alongside a trio of right-handed-hitting second basemen who are competing for possibly just one or two spots in Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse.
Kemp’s main competition is more likely to come in Vimael Machin, another left-handed-hitting utility man acquired by the A’s in last month’s Rule 5 Draft. Kemp is out of Minor League options, while Machin would have to be returned to his original club -- which also happens to be the Cubs -- were he not to make Oakland’s Opening Day roster.
Rivas, 23, was a fourth-round selection by the A’s in the 2018 MLB Draft. He spent the majority of '19 in Class A Advanced Stockton before moving up to Triple-A Las Vegas, combining to hit .283 with eight home runs and 55 RBIs over 122 games.