Mets reach minor league deals with Kemp, Santana
NEW YORK — Looking to replenish their depth, the banged-up New York Mets agreed to minor league contracts Friday with former Midwest City star Matt Kemp and pitcher Ervin Santana.
Both players are expected to report to the club's spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Kemp, who made his third All-Star team last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was released May 4 by Cincinnati. The 34-year-old outfielder batted .200 with a home run and five RBIs for the Reds and had been sidelined since April 23 with a broken left rib.
"Obviously, still pretty high ceiling," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said following a 9-8 loss to Detroit. "He's been playing well the last couple years. He had a good year very recently. So we're going to send him down to Florida, very similar to Santana, and get him in playing shape and see what we've got. Just another piece that at some point may be able to help us."
The 36-year-old Santana, a two-time All-Star, became a free agent on April 29, three days after he was designated for assignment by the White Sox, who signed him for a $4.3 million salary this year. He was 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in three starts for Chicago this season.
"It's just another depth piece for us and one that has some upside to it, because when he gets rolling, he can be a pretty good pitcher," Callaway said. "I've been around him a lot, and he can pitch. When he has that slider going, it's pretty tough."
New York has 11 players on the injured list, including four outfielders and five pitchers.
Missing from the outfield are regulars Michael Conforto (concussion), Brandon Nimmo (stiff neck) and Jeff McNeil (left hamstring tightness). Longtime big leaguers Carlos Gómez and Rajai Davis were called up from Triple-A Syracuse within the past week to help fill those holes.
Another injured outfielder is Yoenis Céspedes, expected to miss the entire season after having ankle surgery Thursday. The team said Céspedes sustained multiple fractures to his right ankle in an accident on his Florida ranch. Céspedes hadn't played this season while recovering from surgery on both heels.
Kemp is a .285 career hitter with 281 homers, 1,010 RBIs and an .822 OPS in 14 major league seasons with the Dodgers, Padres, Braves and Reds. He batted .290 with 21 homers and 85 RBIs in 146 games for Los Angeles last season.