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Blue Jays: Three second base options for the 2022 season

Oct 2, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (4) turns the double play while avoiding Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) during the third inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (4) turns the double play while avoiding Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) during the third inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 14, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Tony Kemp (5) bats against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Tony Kemp

Tony Kemp is not a player who will be close to as productive as Semien was offensively. He has never even hit more than eight home runs in a single season, so 45 home runs are out of the question. However, Kemp would be a cheap utility man who can get a bulk of the at-bats at second base.

Kemp’s bat had been nothing special in his career, but he broke out in 2021. He slashed .279/.382/.418 with eight home runs and 37 RBI. He posted a 127 WRC+ which was better than Bo Bichette’s 122 WRC+ and just four points shy of Marcus Semien’s 131 WRC+. His career-high prior to that was 110 WRC+ in 2018 but that was done in just 97 games. Is he going to be quite that productive? Probably not. But Kemp has shown the ability to be an above-average hitter when given the chance.

Kemp is a guy who prioritizes making contact and putting the ball in play. He doesn’t hit many home runs but he can get on base at a very high level. This past season he walked (52 walks) more than he struck out (51 strikeouts). He was in the 97th percentile in strikeout rate, 92nd percentile in walk rate, and 93rd percentile in whiff rate according to baseball savant.

Kemp isn’t likely to win a Gold Glove anytime soon, but he won’t cost you games in the field either. This season he ranked in the 74th percentile in OAA while playing primarily at second base.

He would fill a couple of different holes for this Jays’ team. The Tennessee native can be one of the few left-handed bats in what projects to be a stacked righty dominant lineup. He can serve as outfield depth if need be, which could be big because as of now their only outfielder on the 40-man roster who doesn’t project to start is Josh Palacios who has played just 16 games in AAA and just 13 in the MLB.

He’s set to make $2.55 million dollars this season and is under contract for next season as well. With the Athletics likely to sell any player who’s set to make any money this season whenever the lockout ends, Kemp might be on the top of their list as a 30 year old coming off of his best season. A deal makes sense for both sides.

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