Cubs Acquire First Base Prospect Alfonso Rivas from A's for Tony Kemp

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Cubs Acquire First Base Prospect Alfonso Rivas from A’s for Tony Kemp

Chicago Cubs

A transaction! A big league transaction! The Cubs have done a thing! [See Updates below]

… but it is not necessarily going to stoke your internal fires:

Kemp, 28, was in the Cubs’ bench mix heading into Spring Training as a controlled player, but he is pre-arbitration and out of options, so it was either make the team or head to waivers. Given that, and given his rough results last year, I wouldn’t expect the Cubs to get anything significant in return.

Still, Kemp was very useful for the Astros in 2018 (OOH, BUT CAN YOU TRUST IT?!?!?) with a 110 wRC+, and he can play serviceably at multiple positions. I can see why the A’s would have interest in him for their bench. On the Cubs, he was one of many, many internal options at second base.

As far as salary savings go, since his spot on the roster – if he ultimately had one – is most likely to be replaced by a similarly-salaried young player, the impact is basically neutral here.

Fun fact: Kemp was acquired for Martin Maldonado at the Deadline, and Maldonado had been acquired for Mike Montgomery. Montgomery, for his part, had been acquired in a deal primarily for Dan Vogelbach. So it’s kinda like the Cubs traded Dan Vogelbach for whatever they get back in this deal!

UPDATE: Multi-player deal, you say?

I would have expected, since Kemp was named, that this was just going to be a Kemp-for-a-low-level-minor-leaguer type trade, but I guess we’ll see.

UPDATE 2: Ah ha, it was that kind of trade after all!

The Cubs have announced that they have acquired 2018 4th rounder Alfonso Rivas from the A’s for Tony Kemp. The 23-year-old Rivas plays first base, but might be able to handle corner outfield spots. He hit well at High-A in his first full professional season (.283/.383/.408, 123 wRC+) and raked in a very tiny eight-game sample at AAA at the end of the year. He even wound up playing in the Arizona Fall League, and hit .306/.417/.449.

Rivas was ranked in the top 30 of the A’s system at both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline.

Rivas is not a big guy, so it’s possible the power never comes (hence him being available in a trade like this), but he hits the ball hard and shows good discipline. For Kemp, this is a perfectly solid move to add a little offense into the farm system.

Note that the Cubs’ new scouting director, Dan Kantrovitz, came over from the A’s, so it’s a fair bet that he was specifically targeting Rivas.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.