MLB Trade Deadline: The Texas Rangers late tonight (early today?) announced that they have traded closer Keone Kela to the Pittsburgh Pirates for...
well, we don’t know because it’s 1:00 in the dang morning.
UPDATE: Good news, we know the Rangers have acquired left-handed pitcher Taylor Hearn who was ranked as the Pirates’ 7th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Kela had sort of become the relief prize on the market here at the tail end of the trading period as he blossomed into the role of closer for Texas this season and now he’s on the move.
On the year, Kela is 24 of 25 in save opportunities with an ERA of 3.44 in 36 2⁄3 innings. ERA for a reliever is always a spurious metric, however. Most importantly, Kela has a 10.80 K/9 rate and features a nice fastball that he uses off a plus curveball. Kela sports a FIP of 2.97 and has been worth exactly 1.0 fWAR, which is good for a reliever.
Texas is presumably getting back
a top Pirates prospect, Hearn, a tall lefty with an ERA of 3.12 and 107 Ks in 104 innings in Double-A ball, and then perhaps also a lottery type of guy to dream on. But, again, we don’t know:
The #Rangers know who they are getting from the #Pirates for Kela. The delay in naming the players is due to the difficulty of contacting them at this late hour, sources say.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2018
But now we do know one name! The Rangers sure are weirdos.
Kela gets to gain a billion games in the standings and join a Pirates team that is on the fringes of contending for October but they have certainly signaled that they’re going for it by bringing in an elite, controllable reliever. Kela won’t become a free agent until 2020 which is a big part of why he was considered valuable to move this summer.
It’s sad to see Kela go from a fan standpoint. Even so, Kela is a massive developmental win for Texas as he made it to the big leagues as a 12th round draft pick in 2012. The return for Kela will help kickstart the rebuilding process in Texas but it hurts that he’s not going to be glowering at hitters in October in a Rangers uniform.
One last time: