Why signing Mike Yastrzemski’s college roommate is a no-risk move the SF Giants should make

The SF Giants should sign Tony Kemp, Mike Yastrzemski’s college roommate, to add to their infield depth.
San Francisco Giants v Oakland Athletics
San Francisco Giants v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The SF Giants have made clear that they are looking to add to their infield. After the Giants officially signed Jordan Hicks to join their rotation, Farhan Zaidi seemed to suggest that the team is still looking to add an infielder.

Why signing Mike Yastrzemski’s college roommate is a no-risk move the SF Giants should make

Some fans may hold out hope that this infielder could be third baseman Matt Chapman. That could happen, but the Giants could also make a sneaky good depth move that would reunite two best friends.

Tony Kemp and Mike Yastrzemski were college roommates at Vanderbilt University and have remained good friends throughout their MLB careers.

While this would certainly be a feel-good move to reunite two great friends, the move would also make a good amount of baseball sense. 

Zaidi has talked about how ideally the Giants will add another infielder that can play shortstop so they have someone behind the young Marco Luciano who is still a question mark at short. 

Tony Kemp is not someone who can play shortstop, but he has some versatility as he has spent a lot of time at both second base and left field the last few seasons with the A’s. In fact, the veteran infielder has graded out favorably at second base with last season being an exception.

That versatility could prove valuable for the Giants. If Luciano struggles at shortstop, the Giants could move Thairo Estrada over to shortstop and then have Kemp play at second base. Estrada has proven that he is capable at short so it would be smart to have a veteran like Kemp who could play second base reliably if things need to be shaken up at shortstop.

Kemp does not have a great profile with the bat. Last season with the A's he hit .209/.303/.304 with 5 home runs and 27 RBI. He did have 15 stolen bases last season which is not insignificant on a Giants team that was starved of speed on the bases.

While his offensive profile does not offer much upside, the lefty bat has generally displaying solid contact and plate discipline skills. He has posted a 13.3 percent strikeout rate and a 10.1 percent walk rate across eight seasons. The Giants posted a 24.5 percent strikeout rate in 2023, so these are qualities they could use.

He also has never spent time on the injured list, which could be important for a Giants team that dealt with injuries a lot last season.

Perhaps reuniting with his buddy Yastrzemski is just what Kemp needs to get him in a good headspace to get back on track at the plate while at the same time providing the Giants with some needed versatility at the plate. Admittedly, it is a bit of an oblong fit, but the 32-year-old likely could be had on a minor-league deal, so there is no harm in that. Plus, he brings a bit more athleticism and contact skills to a team that needs both.