Tony Kemp’s tenure with the Cubs wasn’t very memorable or long. Now, the utility player is on his way to Oakland.
The Cubs acquired Kemp from Houston last trade deadline in a deal for catcher Martin Maldonado (who was acquired two weeks earlier as an emergency catcher). Now, Kemp is on the move again with minor leaguer Alfonso Rivas coming back in return.
Kemp, 28, had 93 plate appearances in 44 games with the Cubs last season. He hit .183 with a .563 OPS. Most of Kemp’s value comes from his versatility. He played all three outfield spots and second base in his time with the Cubs.
Kemp hit much better in his four seasons with the Astros, but is still far from an offensive standout. Kemp is a career .233 hitter with a .314 on-base percentage.
Rivas is 23 and was drafted in the fourth round in 2018 out of the University of Arizona. He is ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the A's organization by MLB Pipeline. Interestingly, his scouting report on Pipeline makes a Mark Grace comparison (sweet-swinging left-handed first baseman with below average power for the position).
He started 2019 with Class A Advanced Stockton in the California League and was named to that league's all-star game. He hit .283/.383/.408 in 509 plate appearances. He played primarily at first base, but did get some time in the outfield as well.
Rivas closed the season with an eight-game stint in Triple-A Las Vegas and hammered the ball. He hit .406/.441/.625 in 34 plate appearances. After the season, Rivas took part in the Arizona Fall League where he hit .306/.417/.449 in 60 plate appearances.
Rivas is far from a big-time prospect, but does have some value. He will be in the high minors in 2020, but isn't going to unseat Anthony Rizzo any time soon at first base.
It's worth noting that Dan Kantrovitz, newly hired as Cubs' scouting director this offseason, was in Oakland's front office when the A's drafted Rivas. He should be familiar with Rivas' skill set and upside.