The Seattle Mariners have some holes to fill on their infield, and they are going big game hunting for players like Kris Bryant and Trevor Story. If there were to miss out on these guys, Jerry Dipoto is going to have to get creative to fill the holes in the infield. One interesting option to fill an infield spot or a utility role lies in Oakland with the Athletics. That player is the second baseman/left fielder Tony Kemp.
Tony Kemp would be a very under-the-radar acquisition, but he might just be a very quality player to add. Kemp does not hit the ball hard, but he does get on base and hit for average. His strikeout and walk rates are both about 13%, which are both inside the top 10 in all of baseball for those categories. He fits the Mariners mold of players who dominate the zone perfectly.
Before 2021, Kemp was the definition of replacement. 2021 turned into an astounding breakout year for Tony Kemp
Kemp slashed .279/.382/.418 last season in a career year and had a 127 wRC+. He also had a 2.7 WAR season last year, proving that he could be an impactful player. The former SEC player of the year showed the potential that he displayed at Vanderbilt. The left-handed swing finally broke through and had a serious impact on the A’s lineup last year.
The Mariners could certainly use him to be a second baseman and move Adam Frazier to third base if they miss out on a major third baseman. They could also use them both Kemp at third, but he hasn’t spent much time there. Both Frazier and Kemp can play left field, but Kemp is probably better out there. He could be what people hoped Dylan Moore would be, a good second baseman and left fielder, but have the bat the Mariners need.
Trading for Tony Kemp would raise the floor of the Mariners tremendously. He could be a player who moves around regularly, but he can easily lock down second base or left field if need be. If someone gets hurt, he can be a quality replacement instead of hopping on someone with no proven track record. He has a nice left-handed swing that would be fun to watch in Seattle.
The A’s are expected to sell off several pieces once the lockout ends, so the Mariners could be in a good position to land Kemp. He would not cost a ton since he only has two years left of club control. The Mariners could send a package of players to help the A’s in the future by offering them players that fit their system and style.
Since the A’s are by all accounts, about to enter a rebuild, they want players that can be a part of their team for a long time. Taylor Trammell and Wyatt Mills certainly fit that mold. Trammell was once a top 100 prospect, but he has had a bit of a down stretch recently. He made his MLB debut with the Mariners in 2021, but he showed he started to find his stroke again in AAA. He started to show he was possibly trending in the right direction.
Trammell fits the A’s because he really just needs consistent time to figure it out at the big league level. The A’s are the perfect team for him because if they sell off some pieces like Kemp and others, he could benefit from filling in their outfield regularly. He can play center field and has good defensive instincts, he just needs more consistent at-bats to continue to grow. He also showed more power this year, hitting 20 home runs between AAA and the big leagues, a career-high.
Wyatt Mills is a more interesting reliever because of his interesting mechanics. He is not quite a sidearm pitcher, but he is certainly deceptive. He could be a player that becomes an annoying reliever to face for the Athletics, which they certainly seem to like.
This package gives nice pieces for the Athletics in return for Tony Kemp, who could certainly become a fan favorite for the Mariners. His smile, his offensive skills, and his defensive skills all contribute to making him the player that he is. He could be what Shed Long had the potential to be, a solid contributor with an upside of decent defense, and could play multiple positions.
All in all, Tony Kemp would be a very fun and interesting player for the Mariners to add. He could be an under-the-radar target for Seattle and Jerry Dipoto. His style of play could lead Mariners fans to find him as one of the most fun players to watch in 2022 for the Mariners. The A’s expected rebuild could lead to the M’s swooping in to acquire a very intriguing player in Tony Kemp.