Washington Nationals: Shawn Kelley’s time may be up
Shawn Kelley surrendered the tying run in Sunday’s game vs the Atlanta Braves, and now his time in D.C. may be coming to a close, unless he turns it around.
In a key spot in Sunday’s game for the Washington Nationals, it was Shawn Kelley who got the call. However, in what seems to have been a theme for him, he surrendered a game-tying home run.
Now as some of the Nats players begin to return from injury, he may be the odd man out.
So far in 2018 Kelley has compiled a 4.76 ERA, with four home runs in just 11.1 innings of work. The home runs especially have been a trend that’s dogged him since his move to the nation’s capital.
More from District on Deck
- 3 Free Agents the Nationals Should Gamble On
- A Washington Nationals Christmas Wishlist
- Washington Nationals: Is Seth Lugo Still an Option?
- Robots in Baseball? The Possibility of an Automated Ball/Strike System in the MLB
- Washington Nationals Re-Sign RHP Erasmo Ramirez
In his three years with the Nationals, he’s had a 2.4 HR/9, including a 4.2 mark last season. With someone so home run prone, it was a puzzling decision to have him pitch in a one run game.
Kelley signed a three year, $15.m deal with the Nats before the 2016 season, and impressed in his first year at Nats Park. He had a 2.64 ERA and was even the closer for a time until they acquired Mark Melancon.
But since that year, his velocity has dropped considerably. In his first year, his fastball consistently sat in the 93-94mph range. However after a scary injury in the 2016 NLDS, his velocity now sits in the 89-90mph range more often than not. This is what has left him so susceptible to the long ball in recent years.
At the start of the season, it made sense to have Kelley on the roster, for lack of better options. But recently other players have emerged as potentially reliable options in the bullpen.
Justin Miller, Tim Collins and Wander Suero have all impressed in making the major league roster. And with Matt Grace set to return, now might finally be the time to bite the bullet with Kelley and his contract.
Given his lack of ability to go multiple innings like the aforementioned relievers, it decreases his value to the team. Especially as someone who currently needs to be in low-leverage, inning-eating duty during blow out games.
Next: Top 10 Nats first round picks
Were it a case of simply having the best relievers on the roster, then it may be the case that Shawn Kelley would already be gone. However, the Washington Nationals need to balance this with the financial side, which may give Kelley a chance to earn some trust again.