Sunday, April 14 2024

How A’s hope to fill leadership hole after Kemp’s departure originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

On Friday, Tony Kemp signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds.

After four seasons in Oakland, Kemp, a leader in the A’s clubhouse, leaves the team searching for leadership, especially during uncertain times. 

In a recent article, The Mercury News’ Haley Smilow shared how the A’s miss Kemp and plan to fill their leadership void.

“Other longtime A’s players like Seth Brown and Paul Blackburn are most likely to step up and fill in the leadership gap left by Kemp,” wrote Smilow.

“[Shea] Langeliers did say Brown also filled a similar role last year and that he is comfortable going to Brown for advice. [Mark] Kotsay agreed, saying Brown and Blackburn are crucial pieces when it comes to understanding where the team comes from, and lifting locker-room morale when the going gets tough.”

Brown has played in Oakland since the 2019 MLB season. Even longer, Blackburn has been with the A’s since 2017.

Langeliers added that replacing Kemp would be a hard task, considering the 32-year-old was a great teammate, player and person.

“I think everyone here misses TK,” Langeliers told Smilow. “He was just one of those guys that was there for you whether it was baseball or just life in general.”

Smilow also listed recently acquired pitchers Ross Stripling and Alex Wood as two veterans who can help mentor an Oakland team coming off a 50-112 campaign during the 2023 MLB season.

The tandem of former San Francisco Giants moves across the Bay with a combined 114 wins, 108 losses and 19 years of experience.

While recent history and future win-loss projections aren’t be the prettiest for the A’s, the team enters its 2024 MLB season with good vibes and energy.

“We’re just excited,” Langeliers said. “Excited to be playing baseball again. It’s really easy to get to know everybody and we’re gonna be a close-knit group.”

The A’s, figuring out where their next home will be, are focused on establishing a respectful, trustworthy locker room environment — a facet that Kemp handled for years.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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