MLB announced today that teams will be able to place players who suffer concussions on a seven-day disabled list this season in addition to the standard 15-day and 60-day disabled lists, with the new option being used on a “trial basis.”
According to the announcement the shorter DL option is intended “to allow concussions to clear, prevent players from returning prematurely, and give the clubs a full complement of players in one’s absence.”
Players on the seven-day DL will be transferred to the 15-day DL once they’ve been sidelined for more than seven days, but the abbreviated DL stint will hopefully make teams more willing to shut a player down once post-concussion symptoms surface. In the past some players have remained on the active roster following concussions because the team wasn’t sure they’d need to miss the full 15 days.
Also of note is that, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the new concussion policy “also requires players to take a baseline neurological examination each spring and whenever they join a new team” and “establishes protocols for evaluating players and umpires for possible concussions and for clearing affected players and umpires to return.”
All in all, a very nice step in the right direction after concussions unfortunately sidelined numerous players last year, including knocking Justin Morneau of the Twins and Jason Bay of the Mets out for months and ending Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue’s career.
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.