Kelly, Weaver excited for opportunity in Arizona

December 6th, 2018

PHOENIX -- Catcher and right-hander , two key pieces that came over from the Cardinals in the trade, will have plenty of opportunity to make a mark in Arizona.
Kelly, who was blocked behind the plate in St. Louis by and appeared in just 63 games over three seasons at the big league level, hopes to put the lessons he learned watching the All-Star to good use.
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Kelly should get expanded playing time this year as part of the D-backs three-catcher group, along with Alex Avila and John Ryan Murphy.
"It's kind of unique because I got to see him on a day-to-day basis and see how he goes about his business and how he prepares for a game," Kelly said of Molina, who is revered for his ability to work with pitchers and call a game. "And I've gone to five Spring Trainings with him, so I've got to see firsthand the work ethic and what it takes to be a Gold Glove catcher and the leader of a team. I've just taken that stuff to heart. I've written a lot of stuff down. I like to write stuff down. I've taken a lot of information in and applied to that to my game and now I feel that I'm getting my opportunity to go out there and perform and show what I've got."

The same can be said of Weaver, who took a step back in performance going 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA last season after a 7-2 record and a 3.88 ERA in 2017.
Where the Cardinals had a lot of starting pitching depth, the D-backs will count on Weaver to fill a spot in the rotation out of Spring Training.
D-backs GM Mike Hazen said that while Weaver's results might not have been what he wanted in 2018, the right-hander's stuff was still as impressive as ever and Arizona will take a deeper dive into his pitch usage and see if they can find some ways for him to improve.
"I don't think it's anything drastic," said Weaver. "I think just continue to keep doing what I'm doing, but make minor adjustments. From what [D-backs pitching coach Mike Butcher] was talking about and the things I was hearing, I think it will fit perfectly into what my goals are, what my expectations have been. And it gets me really excited to get in there and get acclimated and all of that."
Helping both players transition will be the fact that they are making the change together after being friends for so long.
"We were actually roommates in High A and we kind of played together all the way up the Minor League system," Kelly said. "This opportunity with Arizona to get a 'fresh start' or whatever it may be, I think for [Weaver] it's going to be a good reset for him and I think he's going to have a big 2019."