The Indians pick up Ubaldo Jimenez’s option, decline Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez options

10 Comments

The headline, she speaks for itself.  These moves were not unexpected.

Hafner signed a big contract extension in 2007 at almost the exact moment that he ceased to be a healthy, reliable and productive player. Well, saying he was not productive is unfair, for he still presented a threat to go deep when he was healthy. It’s just that he was never, ever healthy. His option for 2013 was a whopping $13 million, so it was never gonna happen. Someone may take a flier on him next spring, but the market for broken designated hitters is not a strong one.

Hernandez’s club option was for $12 million. He pitched three whole ineffective games for the Indians after getting his Fausto Carmona identity theft problems straightened out. He was last useful in 2010 and never came close to fulfilling the promise he held back in 2007 when he went 19-8.

Jimenez likewise pitched poorly in 2012, but his option was a modest $5.75 million and that seems a reasonable risk given Jimenez’s potential. If he can’t get it done in 2013, however, it could be the end of the road for him in Cleveland. He has an $8 million 2014 option.

Casey Kelly signs with the LG Twins in Korea

Getty Images
1 Comment

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.