Keone Kela might be the Phillies best option at the trade deadline
For the last year or two, I’ve advocated for the Phillies trading for Keone Kela, the Pirates 27-year-old reliever.
Kela started this year on the injured list with an unspecified injury, which everyone has come to assume in these situations to be COVID-19 related.
Kela had some up and down seasons with the Rangers from 2015-18 before he was traded to Pittsburgh. Since then he’s put up All-Star caliber numbers with the Pirates, owning a 2.40 ERA in 48 games.
Last season he dealt with a shoulder injury, but was still able to make 32 appearances with a career best 2.12 ERA. He’s also a high strikeout guy averaging 11 K/9 in his career and less than a home run per nine innings.
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Kela is in the final year of his team control with a bad Pirates team, making him an easy trade candidate in 2020. He’s due to make less than $1.4 million this year with an adjusted salary, so it’ll be a low-cost contract for whichever team picks him up.
Kela’s availability, once he’s healthy, will determine what kind of return the Pirates can get for him, but if he comes back and performs the Phillies should at least give the Pirates a call about him.
Even if Kela isn’t 100% from a pitching standpoint, he might be better than what the Phillies have right now in their bullpen. Matt Klentak traded for Wilson Ramos when he was coming off an injury, so there’s some precedent there.