Exit Interview: Joe Kelly

The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season.  This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason.  More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter.  Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.

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Player: Joe Kelly

Season stats: 2-2, 4.37 ERA, 7 games, 35 IP, 41 H, 10 BB, 25 K, 1.457 WHIP, 85 ERA+

Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 2

Overall grade: B-

Positives: Had a 0.59 ERA after three April starts before having to go on the disabled list….walked four batters in his first start, but only six more over his next six games with the Cardinals….save for one blowup against Houston, pitched well after moving over to the Red Sox.

Negatives: Missed all of May and June with a hamstring injury suffered while trying to beat out a hit….allowed five runs at Wrigley and four runs in San Diego in his last two outings wearing Cardinal red….also allowed six runs in Milwaukee his first time back, meaning July was a really bad month for him.

Overview: This really sums up a lot of the situation:

Joe  Kelly sad

The loss of Kelly in the deal for John Lackey probably made folks around Cardinal Nation more disappointed than the fact that Allen Craig was going in that deal as well.  Kelly, of course, had the wonderful personality that fans had gotten to know over the past few years.  Whether it was “hump day” or a standoff with Scott Van Slyke, Kelly brought the fun to the ballpark.

Of course, the Red Sox didn’t want him just to liven up their clubhouse parties.  Kelly had been a solid pitcher for the Redbirds, even if he did seem to get better results than his peripherals seemed to indicate.  Kelly looked very sharp early in the season, perhaps having figured out a few new wrinkles, only to bust it down the line and pull a hammy on a close play at first.  It’s hard to subdue some competitive spirits, even if it’s in their best interest.

The simple fact was that the Cardinals had a lot of young pitching and needed a veteran to stabilize and give the bullpen a breather.  Kelly tended to be yanked before the sixth inning was over after all (he made it through the sixth twice with St. Louis in 2014) and he was more expendable than Shelby Miller or Carlos Martinez.  Baseball is a business, after all, no matter how sad it makes us all feel sometimes.

Outlook: Kelly put up a 4.11 ERA for the Red Sox after heading to Boston at the trade deadline with a BABIP of .239.  His FIP was 4.62, however, and his BABIP is usually more in the .290-.300 range.  It would seem that moving to the American League might not be a great thing for Kelly going forward, though he’s always beaten the odds in the past.

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Last updated: 10/06/2022