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Padres Give Kemp Another Chance With Contract

Steve Kemp, who was earning $1 million a year just sitting at home, signed a Padre minor league contract Monday to play with the Triple-A Las Vegas Stars.

Back in May, the Pittsburgh Pirates gave Kemp--who they said couldn’t hit anymore--his outright release. They owed him guaranteed money worth $2.4 million over two years, but got rid of him anyway.

The Padres, with nothing to lose, signed him to a contract worth an estimated $4,000 a month. It’s a month-to-month contract, and, meanwhile, Pittsburgh must continue to pay him. If he plays well, he could return to the majors. If not, the Padres will release him, too.

“He’s not doing it for the money,” said Tom Romenesko, the Padre director of minor leagues and the man who signed Kemp. “He wants to show people he can compete at the major league level. . . . The bottom line is that all I’m trying to do is help the Las Vegas team. If it works out, it was a gamble that worked out for both sides. If not, at least we tried.

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“His contract is not guaranteed for the rest of the year. If he can’t play, he’ll go home.”

Kemp, who turns 32 in August, had his best season with Detroit in 1979, batting .318 with 26 homers and 105 RBIs. The following year, he had 21 homers and 101 RBIs. He was then traded to the White Sox, and he hit .286 with 19 homers and 98 RBIs. He went to the Yankees in 1983, but was traded to the Pirates.

In 1985, he hit .250 in 92 games, but he was just 3 for 16 with 1 RBI in early 1986.


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