Someone must have slipped me some bad liquor or something, because I’m sure I didn’t just read an article by Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Inquirer saying that the Braves would have won more titles in the 90s if they hadn’t had Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. I mean, that would be, like, the stupidest thing ever:
Yes, the Braves cut loose some stars along that 14-season run. But they also did exactly what the Phillies resisted doing this winter. They already had John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine when they signed Greg Maddux before the 1993 season . . . Did keeping three future Hall of Famers for all those years cash-strap them out of multiple world titles? It’s a thought.
Yes, bringing together three Hall of Fame pitchers to form the best starting rotation of all time was what prevented the Braves from winning more World Series. Clearly the team would have been better off if they had avoided splurging on Greg Maddux and, rather than have him post historically awesome seasons throughout the 90s in a Braves uniform, spent the money on a lefty specialist.
And if you think I’m taking this quote out of context or something, here’s the windup:
So be careful with our hearts, fellas. We’ve made you The Show in this
hard-to-please town. Maybe we can’t be the Yankees, but we sure don’t
want to be the Braves for the next decade either.
Yeah, winning the division every year would be, like, a total downer.
We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.
It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.
He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four. He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.
He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.
Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.
Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.
This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.