The Washington Nationals thought they had free agent Shawn Kelley signed but as of Monday evening at the winter meetings that was not the case as reported by Mark Feinsand. It appears that the Seattle Mariners are vying for his services which would mean a return to his first club.
I’m told Shawn Kelley to Nationals isn’t a done deal. As of Monday night, it was down to Nationals, Mariners and Diamondbacks.
— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 8, 2015
The trade earlier this week that brought starting pitcher Wade Miley to the Seattle Mariners sent right handed specialist Carson Smith to the Boston Red Sox. This created a vacancy in the bullpen for the Mariners. So they are now seeking a to fill that role on the bullpen staff. This is most likely why you are seeing Jerry Dipoto get involved in the bidding for Shawn Kelley’s services.
Shawn Kelley was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2007 draft. He spent 6 years in the Seattle Mariners organization including some time on the major league team. He was traded to the New York Yankees in 2013 for minor leaguer Abraham Almonte after being designated for assignment and later traded to the San Diego Padres for Johnny Barbato. He has bounced between the majors and the minor leagues repeatedly during his tenure in the majors.
The 31 year old Louisville native has a career 3.67 earned run average and 1.234 WHIP at the major league level. Last year he posted a 2.45 earned run average and a 1.091 WHIP with the Padres. In 51.1 innings he managed 63 strikeouts and only 15 walks. That is exactly in line with Jerry Dipoto’s philosophy which is high strikeout to walk ratio. He wants the pitchers to miss bats. And Shawn Kelley does that with regularity.
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Bringing Shawn Kelley for a reprise in Seattle would be interesting. While he struggled at times he was definitely a fan favorite. Shawn Kelley would come to the Mariners and compete for a spot at the end of the rotation. He could possibly compete for the closer position. As Ryan Divish notes in this tweet:
One thing that makes the Mariners attractive to Shawn Kelley would be the chance to compete for closer spot.
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 8, 2015