For most of this season the Cardinals did everything they could to avoid putting Joe Kelly into the rotation, using him as a reliever for the first three months.
Injuries finally forced them to move him into the rotation in early July and he’s been fantastic ever since, going 7-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts. And he’s done that while the rest of the Cardinals’ rotation has fallen apart, with Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch crunching the numbers to find that St. Louis’ non-Kelly starters have gone 19-18 with a 4.76 ERA during that same span.
Kelly’s secondary numbers are very underwhelming, including a 34/25 K/BB ratio in 58 innings and a .241 opponents’ batting average, but he’s served up just four homers in 247 plate appearances and has given up more than two runs just twice in 10 starts.
Free agent outfielder Peter Bourjos is heading back to the Angels on a minor league deal, per a report from Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. The agreement includes an invitation to spring training, but has not yet been officially confirmed by the team.
Bourjos, 31, played out a one-year gig with the Braves in 2018 and slashed .205/.239/.364 with four extra-base hits and a .603 OPS through a career-low 47 plate appearances. He showed more promise during a short-lived stint with the Giants’ Triple-A squad in the second half of the season, but elected free agency in early November and had yet to catch on with another major league club. His deal with the Angels represents a homecoming of sorts, as he played some of the best years of his career in Anaheim from 2010 to 2013 before getting traded to the Cardinals in a multiplayer swap for David Freese and Fernando Salas in 2014.
The veteran outfielder is long past his prime, but could still bring some value to the team as outfield depth behind Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Kole Calhoun. Per Adams, he’s expected to compete for a spot as the Angels’ fourth outfielder, though he also has limited experience at DH as well.