While the Astros punishment news was breaking Monday afternoon, the Cubs and Athletics snuck a minor trade through the wire. The deal sent Tony Kemp — who was on the 2017 Astros, ironically enough — to Oakland in exchange for minor-league first baseman Alfonso Rivas. Kemp, a utility player, went from Houston to Chicago for Martín Maldonado last summer. The Cubs didn’t have a major need for Kemp with Almora as a fourth outfielder and guys like Daniel Descalo and Hernán Pérez to fill in on the dirt. Oakland, meanwhile, will be able to use him off the bench. Kemp was very good in 2018 with a 110 wRC+, but fell back to a mark of 77 last year. Rivas isn’t a big prospect, but he’s done nothing but hit in his two years as a pro and made it as high as Triple-A last year.
Sox Spin: Let’s be honest, there’s not a lot going on here. The Athletics might get a little better here and they are wildcard contenders, but Kemp isn’t making the difference in that race.
Tigers sign Iván Nova
The Tigers are not going to be good in 2020. I feel comfortable making that assertion. Despite that, they still need to field a major-league roster, and that included a need for a starter. They filled said need on Monday, signing Iván Nova to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with incentives. Nova was, of course, a former Yankee where he put together a couple solid years as well as a couple rough ones. He’s bounced around the league since then, mostly hovering around league-average while starting a bunch of games but not often going deep into them. He is basically the definition of a back-end starter. He’s fine, but far from exciting.
Sox Spin: Another day, another low-level pitcher coming off the board. For now, the Red Sox have bigger concerns.