Buster Olney of ESPN.com is hearing that the Cubs are telling teams that they have no interest in including reliever Sean Marshall in a trade.
While he has been a starter in the past, the 28-year-old Marshall has quietly emerged as one of the top left-handed set-up men in the game, posting an outstanding 2.52 ERA and 133/34 K/BB ratio since the start of the 2010 season. The 2003 sixth-round pick has a 2.40 ERA and 43/9 K/BB ratio over 41 1/3 innings this season.
The Cubs bought out Marshall’s final two years of arbitration this winter by signing him to a two-year, $4.7 million contract. He’s still owed roughly half of his $1.6 million salary for this season and will make $3.1 million in 2012.
You may be asking yourself why the Cubs would want to pay that much to a reliever if they aren’t in contention. And it’s a fair question. But as Olney tweeted earlier today, the market for relievers is going to be saturated around the deadline. Even though it sounds like the Cubs may want to keep Marshall in good faith, they would probably be better served to wait if they want to get a quality prospect or two in return.
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.