Padres outfielder Matt Kemp has been in a much-publicized slump, entering play Saturday batting a meager .247/.280/.324 with one home run and 26 RBI. He hadn’t homered since April 18, but that changed against Reds starter Michael Lorenzen on Saturday afternoon.
In the fourth inning, with the bases empty and one out, Kemp drove an 0-1 fastball to right-center, bouncing off of the top of the fence and into the stands for a home run. The blast only reduced the Padres’ deficit to 4-1, but at least Kemp got off the schneid. Kemp would add a two-run double in the sixth to cut the Padres’ lead to 6-3, then a two-run single in the eighth inning to break a 7-7 tie. He finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a walk and five RBI.
[mlbvideo id=”147765283″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”
The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.
Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.