As the Oakland A’s look to pare down payroll and get rid of virtually anyone making a larger salary, those few veteran players that remain on the roster will be even more important. That will especially be the case if they can play multiple positions, just like Tony Kemp.
Kemp had already established himself as an important piece of the A’s roster. His ability to play at second base and in the outfield allowed the team to work the lineup based on platoon advantages. However, due to injuries, Kemp ended up with the most playing time of his career in 2021.
Tony Kemp a key piece of 2022 Oakland A’s
He responded with the best season of his career. Kemp produced a .279/.382/.418 batting line in his 397 plate appearances, hitting eight homers and 16 doubles. He drew 52 walks while striking out just 51 times, showing impressive plate discipline as he set career highs in virtually every category.
Kemp should once again receive a considerable amount of playing time in 2022. As the A’s roster currently stands, there are holes in the outfield and at second base. His versatility, and ability to play in those areas, should lead to his being in the lineup on a consistent basis.
The A’s will also need to find a new leadoff hitter. Mark Canha had held that role, but has since signed with the Mets. Kemp, with his speed and ability to get on base, may be the answer as the A’s leadoff hitter as well.
But it all comes down to how Kemp performs next season. He had not come close to production in 2021 over the course of his career, having posted an 85 OPS+ in his previous five seasons. As he was 29 last year, it is possible that he had his breakout campaign, but he will need to prove himself once again next year.
Tony Kemp is going to have a large role with the Oakland A’s in 2022. If he can replicate his performance in 2021, he could make a major difference.