MLB Trade Rumors: Texas Rangers relief pitcher Keone Kela is someone who the Texas Rangers are “open to discussing” in trade talks, according to Evan Grant.
Unlike, say, Jeremy Jeffress, who the team is shopping, per reports, and who I think the Rangers are just ready to move on from, Kela doesn’t appear to be someone the team necessarily wants to trade. Rather, it would seem to be a matter of the Rangers gauging interest in a reliever who is under team control through 2020, and who is having a very good 2017 campaign.
Previous reports have indicated that the Rangers would be willing to listen on pretty much any of their relievers, apparently on the theory that relievers are highly volatile anyway, and in a market where controllable, high-quality relievers can bring back substantial returns, it makes sense to sell now and go find new relief arms in the offseason. Texas has had some success developing relievers, and finding them for cheap, so there is a logic to this.
The 24 year old Kela has a 2.51 ERA this year, and had a 2.39 ERA in his rookie campaign in 2015. 2016 was an injury-plagued disaster, as he missed much of the year after undergoing surgery for bone spurs in his elbow, and had a 6.09 ERA in 34 innings once he returned, but he appears to have that behind him.
For the Rangers, seeing what the market would bring for Kela makes sense. It could potentially allow them to use him in a package with someone like Yu Darvish to bring back an even greater return from a buying team, but even on his own, Kela would seem to command a nice package. At the end of the day, Kela likely isn’t going anywhere, but one can’t fault the Rangers for doing their due diligence on the market.