The Indians shouldn't sign outfielder Matt Kemp

The 34-year-old was released by the Reds on Saturday

James Rapien
May 04, 2019 - 4:56 pm
 Apr 11, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Matt Kemp (27) against the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians are one of the worst hitting teams in baseball and would love to add more power to their lineup, but that doesn't mean they should sign every washed up veteran that happens to be on the market. 

Outfielder Matt Kemp was released by the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. The Dodgers traded the three-time All-Star to the Reds in December. 

Kemp, 34, posted a .200 batting average, hitting one home run and five RBI in 60 at-bats this season. He was in an outfield rotation that included Yasiel Puig, Jessie Winker and Scott Schebler. He struggled to fit in, especially since he wasn't playing everyday. 

There's absolutely no reason for the Indians to sign Kemp. He would probably struggle in Cleveland the same way he did in Cincinnati. It's worth noting that the veteran is on the injured list with a broken rib. The last thing the Indians need is another injured player. 

Kemp would be in a rotation with the Tribe. The Indians' outfield consists of young players like Jake Bauers and Jordan Luplow, veterans like Carlos Gonzalez and Leonys Martin, plus they have Tyler Naquin, who's had his moments over the past few seasons. 

When you add Bradley Zimmer, who's close to playing in minor-league games and Oscar Mercado, who's a promising young outfielder in Triple-A Columbus, it's hard to envision a role for Kemp. 

Some may argue about the quality of the Indians' options, but Luplow and Bauers have shown potential. Gonzalez and Martin may not be All-Stars, but fit well with this team. 

Kemp is a big name who no longer plays like it. That's a tough adjustment for a lot of veterans to make. He made the National League All-Star team last season. It was the first time he was in the game since 2012. His resurgence last season was good to see, but that appears to be an outlier. Kemp has a .272/.314/.467 slash line over the past five seasons. Gonzalez's numbers are better across the board over that span. Should the Indians sign him because of what he did last season? Do you think the Reds would've released him if they believed he could still play at an All-Star level? 

He may catch on somewhere and play well, but he shouldn't get the opportunity to resurrect his career in Cleveland. The Indians should roll with the guys they have and continue to look for upgrades in the future.

Kemp isn't better than any of the outfielders on the Indians' roster. Ensuring that young players like Luplow, Bauers and even Naquin get regular at-bats is a better startegy. Why clog the roster with a veteran like Kemp?

The front office already rolled the dice with Hanley Ramirez. He was released by Boston last May. Kemp fits the Ramirez mold – a former All-Star hoping for one more chance, not the Gonzalez mold – a player who's evolved and knows he isn't the star that he used to be. 

The Indians should always be looking for ways to get better. Unfortunately for the Tribe, Kemp shouldn't be one of those options.