Is there room in crowded Reds outfield for veteran Matt Kemp?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

caption arrowCaption
Veteran talks about being in the prime of his career.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Matt Kemp is a three-time All-Star who owns two Gold Gloves and a pair of silver slugger awards, but is there room in the Cincinnati Reds crowded outfield to keep him happy this season?

Ever since the 34-year-old came over from the Dodgers in an offseason trade, fans have wondered where the Oklahoma native fits in an outfield that includes Yasiel Puig, Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker and possibly top prospect Nick Senzel.

»RELATED: ‘The word rebuild should be out the door’

For starters, Kemp is instantly the veteran in the clubhouse. This will be his 14th Major League season and fourth big league team.

Earlier this week he sat down and gave some thoughts on his new team and what he can bring to the lineup on a regular basis.

Q: What are your impressions of this team as you come over from the Dodgers?

A: “It’s still early, we still have a lot of work to do. We definitely have some unbelievable players on this team. The Reds made a lot of moves this year to help this team win. I know playing against them last year I think we only beat them one time so they did a pretty good job against a really good team. To add me, Puig, Wood and Roark — we have a lot of veteran guys coming over to help this team win.”

»RELATED: Votto believes Reds can win NL Central

»HAL MCCOY: Who makes Reds’ Opening Day roster?

Q: You’ve changed teams a few times now. Is it difficult to make that transition?

A: “It’s a little bit easier. As you get a little older you get used to it, but having some familiar faces over here helps a lot. I still have the same hitting coach (Turner Ward). I’ve known Puig for a long time, it’s a little bit of the same …not that much of a difference.”

Q: How important is playing time to you?

A: “It’s very important. I can do nothing sitting on the bench. My job is to drive in runs. That’s something I’ve been trying to do my whole career is make things happen and drive in runs. Playing time is what I want to do. I don’t want to sit on the bench and watch baseball.”

Q: You seem like a guy who is comfortable with men on base (while) some guys don’t deal with that as well?

»RELATED: Different feel for Reds this spring

»RELATED: New starter a ‘stable presence’

A: “I came up with some guys who taught be how to drive in runs. Driving in runs is fun. Some guys are scared to do it. I like runners in scoring position and I like to try and make things happen, put some runs on the board and give our pitchers some cushion to go out there and do their thing.”

caption arrowCaption
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the second inning of the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the second inning of the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

caption arrowCaption
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the second inning of the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Q: You’ve accomplished a lot in your career, is there anything left for you to prove?

A: “I just want to prove to all these guys that older guys can still play baseball. There’s a lot of free agents out there that are over 30 that they don’t think can play anymore. When I came up as a player, guys who were 33, 34, 35 were in the prime of their careers and they were doing a lot of great things in this game. Veteran leadership is very important. I learned from those guys and I hope to follow in their footsteps and teach some of these younger guys how to play the right way and lead and try to win as many games as we can.”


SATURDAY’S GAME

Reds vs. Indians, 3 p.m., 700

About the Author