MLB Rumors: The Texas Rangers and Shawn Kelley, free agent relief pitcher, are in agreement on a one year deal for $2.5 million, with a team option in 2020 with a $250,000 buyout, per multiple reports. Kelley, 34, split the 2018 season between the Washington Nationals and the Oakland A’s.
Kelley came up in the Seattle Mariners organization, spent some time with the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres, and then parlayed a quality 2015 campaign with San Diego into a 3 year, $15 million free agent deal with the Nationals. Kelley had a great 2016 season (2.64 ERA/2.97 FIP), was awful in 2017 (7.27/8.62), and then was good again in 2018 (2.94/3.71). Kelley gave up a remarkable 12 home runs in 26 innings in 2017, which is kind of hard to do.
Kelley gained notoriety last year by being designated for assignment by the Nationals on August 1, 2018, after he got mad and threw his glove on the ground during an awful outing in a blowout win by the Nats, with manager Dave Martinez saying the gesture was “disrespectful to the organization,” and g.m. Mike Rizzo saying Kelley was “in the way.” The A’s acquired him for international slot money.
Kelley throws hard, misses bats, and will presumably be in the setup/middle relief mix for the Rangers. As things stand right now, assuming Kelley is a Ranger, the bullpen would seem to look like this:
Connor Sadzeck (out of options)
Jordan Romano (Rule 5 selection)
I wouldn’t be surprised to see another veteran relief pitcher or two, particularly a lefty, get picked up in the next few weeks, however. Jake Diekman is still out there, and would seem to be a nice fit.
The Rangers have a full 40 man roster, so a move to clear a spot will have to be made. Luke Farrell or John Andreoli would seem to be the likely candidates to be designated for assignment to create a spot.