Detroit Tigers-Winter trade partners series: Oakland A’s

May 27, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt (40), first baseman Matt Olson (28), catcher Sean Murphy (12) and third baseman Matt Chapman (26) celebrate after Bassitt’s complete game shutout against the Los Angeles Angels at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt (40), first baseman Matt Olson (28), catcher Sean Murphy (12) and third baseman Matt Chapman (26) celebrate after Bassitt’s complete game shutout against the Los Angeles Angels at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Sep 3, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Oakland Athletics second baseman Tony Kemp (5) hits a two-run home run during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

Utility player Tony Kemp

As Jacob Boes discussed in one of his recent articles, the Tigers have a boatload of utility players but not one is posting a 2.9 bWAR like Tony Kemp (career-high) or walks around 13% clip so he walks more than he strikes out, which makes up for his lack of power.  He can play second base, the outfield, and played under manager A.J Hinch for four seasons in part-time duty.

Granted, he does not hit for power but he has a DRS of 2 at second base and if Hinch wants to throw Jonathan Schoop at first, Kemp could play second. In left field, he has posted a DRS of 2 so filling in the outfield is no issue.

In the case of Kemp, the Tigers could give up a minor prospect, should they decide to move on from the various utility players they have now.

As far as his past in Houston with the whole cheating scandal, Kemp is on record that he was not involved in it and felt no pressure to do it.

"“Once I got there in September the system was already in place and I just tried to keep my head down and play hard and not really concern myself with it,” Kemp said”"

No disrespect to Harold Castro, who has been clutch in providing hits this season but if you look at the utility players like himself, Victor Reyes, and Willi Castro, the Tigers could use another player that gets on base and provide defensive value.

Conclusion:

For the Detroit Tigers, addressing the pitching staff outside of the shortstop situation should be the number one priority.  You still have to watch the innings of Mize and Skubal and potential Joey Wentz. When it comes to free agency in pitching, it is a gamble but if the Tigers can grab at least one arm under club control, it allows them to potentially have more wiggle room to sign a big-name player.

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