And then there were three.
When the A's made the somewhat surprising decision to trade Cole Irvin to the Orioles, that left Paul Blackburn, Tony Kemp, and Ramon Laureano as the only three players left on the roster that are eligible for arbitration. It seems almost inevitable that one of those players will be traded next.
Tony Kemp makes sense as next on Oakland A's trade block
The A's have been adamant that Laureano will not be traded. Blackburn just entered arbitration and is the de facto ace of the staff. This leaves Kemp as the most likely player to be on the block next as he is a year away from free agency and is not likely to be a part of their future core.
There is no question that Kemp is a popular figure in the clubhouse and amongst the fanbase. The A's themselves have tapped into his community outreach programs and had Kemp as the face of their conversations about race in an attempt to foster togetherness and understanding. His loss would be a major blow on and off the diamond.
At the same time, there may be a decent market for Kemp. Teams are looking for help in the middle of their infield and outfield; Kemp's ability to play at either second or left could entice a team to make a solid offer. His ability to make contact, draw a walk, and solid speed would make him a valued part of the lineup while his leadership could make a difference in the clubhouse.
The A's clearly value Kemp as well. His ability to slot in different positions and leadership are valuable, especially with such a young team. Trading Kemp could make sense from a purely academic standpoint, but he may be more valuable as a member of the A's than any possible return would be.
Tony Kemp makes sense as the next player to be traded by the Oakland A's. That does not mean that a deal will happen.