Cubs

Cubs trade Tony Kemp to Oakland for prospect

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USA TODAY

Cubs trade Tony Kemp to Oakland for prospect

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.

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Kris Bryant reportedly to get a shot as Cubs leadoff hitter

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USA TODAY

Kris Bryant reportedly to get a shot as Cubs leadoff hitter

The leadoff spot has been in flux for the Cubs since Dexter Fowler left after the 2016 season. A new chapter in that role could soon be coming.

According to multiple reports, Kris Bryant talked about leading off for the Cubs in a meeting with new manager David Ross and it sounds like he will get a chance to do just that.


The Cubs have been creative with the leadoff spot without the lack of a traditional leadoff hitter on the roster. Anthony Rizzo even has 57 games in the leadoff spot in his career.

Bryant has had seven starts at the top of the order. He hit .321/.387/.464 in those games.


What this would do to the rest of the Cubs' lineup is going to be interesting. Bryant primarily batted second or third last year. Putting him at leadoff could separate him from Rizzo and Javy Baez in the middle of the lineup. Ross could also continue to change things up and put Baez or Rizzo second to keep the team's best three hitters back-to-back-to-back in the order.

Ross hasn't even managed a spring training game yet, but this could be his first big change. With the first spring training game coming up on Saturday, we should get a clue as to how Ross plans to send the team out. Suddenly the batting order is something to keep an eye on.

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Kris Bryant still isn't buying Rob Manfred's 'piece of metal' apology

Kris Bryant still isn't buying Rob Manfred's 'piece of metal' apology

Somehow things are still getting worse for Rob Manfred? 

After admitting that the Astros' cheating apology was "not successful" while describing the World Series trophy as a "piece of metal," Manfred spoke again at Cactus League media day, if only because he happens to be in the middle his sport's largest scandal in decades.

He quickly apologized for the comments, and admitted it was just about the sloppiest way he could have phrased a larger rhetorical point. The comments made a lot of players very angry, and it doesn't sound like Manfred's apology did much to move the needle:

This has been the longest week of Rob Manfred's life and it's Wednesday morning.