Philadelphia Phillies: 3 relievers the club should sign
2. Keone Kela
It is hard to find another reliever on the market that has the ceiling of right-hander Keone Kela. Still just 27 years old, Kela was poised to be the Pirates closer for the 2020 season, before injury struck yet again. Over 122 1/3 innings since 2017, Kela compiled a 2.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and a 153:48 K: BB over that stretch. His 31.1% strikeout rate is something to get excited about as strikeout relievers are extremely valuable in today’s MLB.
With eye-popping strikeout numbers and still just age 27, you may wonder why Kela has not been signed or how the Phillies could afford him.
Injuries and off the field issues have combined to diminish the value of Kela. He still is capable enough to earn an MLB contract, but reports circulated last year of Kela causing locker room trouble in Pittsburgh. He was also ejected for his role in a pair of benches-clearing brawls in 2019 against Cincinnati. He vehemently denied causing any type of locker room trouble.
With little rumors surrounding the right-hander, there is a chance the Phillies can snag him at a good price. The Phillies are not always the best at reclamation projects, but a low-leverage role for Kela could prove effective if he can continue to utilize his powerful fastball.
At this point, the Phillies are not looking for low-risk veterans to flip at the trade deadline. They need a low-cost veteran with a high ceiling who can take on a high leverage spot down the stretch.