Why Tony Kemp and Mike Ford saw a fit with the Cincinnati Reds

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. — In 2022 and 2023, infielder Tony Kemp was the veteran leader on an Oakland Athletics team that had one of the worst rosters in the big leagues. 

Kemp signed a minor league deal with the Reds on Friday. The only parallel he sees between his new team and his old team is the youth on both rosters. 

“It was obviously a tough few years,” Kemp said. “There was a lot of talking to the younger guys. But the biggest deal here is this (Reds) team wants to win and they’re going for championships and division titles. That’s what you want to be a part of.”

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Kemp has been an every day player for most of his eight-year career, but he had his worst season in 2023, hitting .209 with a .607 OPS. 

Kemp didn’t find a big league deal in free agency and joins the Reds during the middle of spring training. He’s competing for a roster spot and gives the Reds more infield depth in the organization. 

“I’m excited to be here,” Kemp said. “It’s an exciting team with a lot of talent. I’m excited to get going. The biggest deal that came to me is so many connections here. When you see these young guys, you want to have veteran presences around. What appeals to me is that there’s opportunity to grow here. It’s not always going to be as clear cut as you want in the big leagues. Unfortunately sometimes struggles happen. I want to help these young guys and speak from experience.”

What first baseman Mike Ford brings to the Reds

The Cincinnati Reds kept adding to their organizational depth on Friday, signing first baseman Mike Ford to a minor league deal. 

Last year, Ford was an above-average hitter for his position and played a role for a Seattle Mariners team that was in contention for a playoff spot. In 83 big league games, Ford posted a .798 OPS and made hard contact at an impressive rate in a small sample size. 

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“I locked in,” Ford said. “I want to become a well-rounded hitter again. The power has been there. I got away from going to the opposite field. I can handle fastballs. The breaking ball has been the kryptonite occasionally. I worked on that, getting a better bat path for those pitches. I’m excited to see where it goes.”

Ford joins a deep group of Reds infielders with MLB experience on minor league contracts. Along with Ford and Kemp, the Reds have Josh Harrison, Erik Gonzalez and Mark Mathias. Infield prospects Edwin Arroyo and Tyler Callihan are…

Read More: Why Tony Kemp and Mike Ford saw a fit with the Cincinnati Reds 2024-02-24 16:07:30

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