It has been reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in free agent utility man Tony Kemp. If signed, where could the veteran fit on the 2024 roster?
One week from today, pitchers and catchers will report to Bradenton. With that, spring training 2024 will be underway for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Due to this, any remaining roster moves from the Pirates this offseason are likely to come soon.
Earlier this week, FanSided's MLB insider Robert Murray reported on multiple free agent players that the Pirates may still be interested. One of these players was veteran second baseman/outfielder Tony Kemp.
If the Pirates were to sign Kemp, where could he fit on the team's roster?
The 8-year MLB veteran spent the 2023 season with the Oakland A's. This was his fourth consecutive season in Oakland. Kemp hit for a .209/.303/.304 slash line with a 76 OPS+, 77 wRC+, and a -1.0 WAR last season.
This marked Kemp's worst season since 2019. In his career, the left-handed hitter owns a .238/.325/.352 slash line with a 91 OPS+ and a 94 wRC+ in 2237 plate appearances in 734 games played.
Barring an addition, the Pirates are set to enter the 2024 season without a proven commodity at second base. Right now, Liover Peguero appears to be the frontrunner for the job with Nick Gonzales, Ji Hwan Bae, and Jared Triolo in the mix as well. Four players with MLB experience, but four young players without a lot of experience.
Adding Kemp would help add a veteran presence and experience to the second base situation. He played 410.0 innings at second base last season and has 2148.1 innings at the position in his career. In fact, second base has been his primary position the past three seasons.
Kemp could also help add to the outfield depth. He could work as a platoon partner, or at least make some starts against right-handed pitching, in right field with Edward Olivares. While he has not played in center field since 2019, he could potentially be an option there as well.
If the Pirates were to sign Kemp it would likely be on just a 1-year deal. Kemp would be brought in as a veteran, utility bench piece to help bolster both the team's second base and outfield depth. Odds are, if Kemp were to have a strong season the Pirates would then look to use him as trade bait in July if they are not contending for the postseason.