The A's acquired right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley and cash considerations from the Nationals for international slot money on Sunday. To make room on the 40-man roster for Kelley, Oakland recalled outfielder Jake Smolinski from Triple-A Nashville and placed him on the 60-day disabled list with a blood clot in his
The A's acquired right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley and cash considerations from the Nationals for international slot money on Sunday. To make room on the 40-man roster for Kelley, Oakland recalled outfielder Jake Smolinski from Triple-A Nashville and placed him on the 60-day disabled list with a blood clot in his left calf.
Kelley was designated for assignment by the Nationals on Wednesday, one day after throwing his glove during an outing against the Mets. The 34-year-old had allowed three runs, including a homer, while pitching the ninth inning of a 25-4 victory.
"I thought the act that he portrayed on the field last night was disrespectful to the name on the front of the jersey, the organization, specifically Davey Martinez," general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday. "You're either in or you're in the way. And I thought he was in the way."
Kelley said, in an interview with MLB.com on Wednesday, that his actions stemmed from his frustration over a disagreement with the umpires and the fact that he surrendered a home run, noting he carries the same intensity in a blowout as he would a tied game.
"I hate the narrative of being selfish or showing up the manager because I've spent 10 years in this league, and the only thing I've really ever cared about when I leave this game is people knowing that I cared and I was humble, selfless and I was a good person and good to everybody and treated everybody fairly," Kelley said. "That's kind of what I'm about and who I am as a person. So it hurts a little bit today reading some of the taglines and some of the comments that are out there."
A's manager Bob Melvin defended Kelley, calling the episode an "isolated incident." He was aware of the trade before his team played the Tigers on Sunday, and spoke with closer Blake Treinen, who was teammates with Kelley in Washington from 2016-17.
"Blake said, 'This is a great guy. That's completely out of character for him,'" Melvin said. "Sometimes, your emotions get away from you a little bit. … We feel good about him being here."
After struggling early in the season, Kelley rebounded to post a 3.34 ERA and .215 opponents' batting average through 35 relief appearances with the Nationals. He's joining his fifth MLB organization. Prior to his three seasons in Washington, Kelley pitched for the Mariners (2009-12), Yankees (2013-14) and Padres (2015).
Kelley joins an A's bullpen that has a 2.12 ERA over the last 28 games, the best winning percentage in baseball (29-8, .784) and has converted 33-of-42 save opportunities, which is tied for the best percentage in the Majors.
In lieu of adding a starting pitcher, the A's have decided to load up on relievers -- they acquired Jeurys Familia from the Mets prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. With Kelley's ability to pitch multiple innings if called upon, the A's could shorten games even further and take the load off a starting rotation that has not typically gone deep into games. They already possess three elite arms in the back end of the bullpen in Treinen, Familia and Lou Trivino.
"It allows us to cut some of the innings on the starters," Melvin said. "This is a guy who's had a lot of success, too. … Good sink, good fastball, [has] given us problems in the past. Makes us a little bit deeper down there."
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.