Reds release three-time All-Star Matt Kemp as rebuild continues
As their efforts to build a contender continue, the Cincinnati Reds have decided to release three-time All-Star Matt Kemp.
The Reds announced the news prior to Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants.
The #Reds have released OF Matt Kemp.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 4, 2019
Kemp, 34, was currently on the 10-day injured list while he recovered from a broken rib. He was acquired during the offseason in a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers that also brought Yasiel Puig to Cincinnati.
Kemp had appeared in just 20 games, posting a disappointing .200/.210/.283 batting line with one home run and five RBIs.
Youth is served
The Reds’ decision comes one day after top prospect Nick Senzel was promoted from Triple A. The versatile 23-year-old developed in the Reds’ system as a middle infielder, but is expected to be the team's regular center fielder for the remainder of the season.
With Yasiel Puig and 25-year-old Jesse Winker also locked into regular outfield roles, there would be few at-bats for Kemp to take even when healthy.
Reds president Dick Williams confirmed to The Cincinnati Enquirer that Kemp didn’t fit in the team’s plans.
"With our support, (manager) David (Bell) is working hard to create a new environment in the clubhouse and on the field," Williams told The Enquirer. "After giving it time to develop, we didn't see Matt fitting in. We wanted to give him the opportunity to help another team."
The Reds also demoted veteran outfielder Scott Schebler on Saturday. Clearly they are focused on developing and showcasing a younger and potentially dynamic outfield.
What's next for Matt Kemp?
This wouldn't be the first time Kemp's career has reached an apparent crossroads. His stints with the Padres and Braves in particular ended with concerns that his body was breaking down and that his best days were behind him.
It might be the last time though.
After a resurgent season in his return to the Dodgers in 2018, Kemp is again battling an injury with no timetable for a return. That will hinder his immediate future and will certainly make it tougher to carve out a regular role on a contending team this season.
This will also be the final year on Kemp's eight-year, $120 million contract signed before the 2012 season. These next few months will be telling in terms of his future in MLB.
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