You’d think last night would be an unequivocally wonderful one for the Nationals, but at least one player — reliever Shawn Kelley — wasn’t feeling good about it.
Kelley was brought into the Nationals game against the Mets with a 25-1 lead and was asked to mop things up in the ninth inning. He gave up a double and a single right off, then allowed a run to score on a fielder’s choice. Next up was Austin Jackson who hit a two-run homer. With a 25-4 lead the game was not exactly in jeopardy in that situation, but Kelley acted as if the world was ending: he spiked his glove into the dirt and glared into the dugout, perhaps at manager Dave Martinez, perhaps because he was mad he drew mopup duty and saw his ERA climb in a meaningless situation, perhaps because he was simply frustrated for sucking eggs.
Either way, it didn’t go over well with the Nationals. They released him this morning. General Manager Mike Rizzo:
“I thought that the act that he portrayed on the field last night was disrespectful to the name on the front of the jersey, the organization, specifically Davey Martinez. You’re either in or you’re in the way, and I thought he was in the way . . .that’s something that you don’t come back from. It was a disrespectful act, and I thought it warranted him leaving the team. I didn’t see how he could face the rest of his teammates and the coaching staff and the manager again after such a selfish act in a 25-1 game.”
Between that and the trade of Brandon Kintzler, allegedly for snitchin’ to the press, Nats relievers best be on their best behavior. Mike Rizzo may send you to Siberia or something if you get outta line.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.