Mariners’ interest in Matt Kemp is “very real”

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The Mariners re-acquired Kendrys Morales from the Twins on Thursday for right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor, and they’re not done trying to beef up their offense. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo

Kemp owns an underwhelming .273/.339/.429 batting line in 369 plate appearances this season for the Dodgers, but Seattle outfielders have combined to hit .252/.291/.357 and so he’d be a pretty significant upgrade. The 29-year-old is making $21 million in 2014 and owed $107 million between 2015-2019.

Los Angeles has a crowded (and expensive) outfield at the moment between Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, and Scott Van Slyke. And top prospect Joc Pederson is knocking on the door.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.