On Wednesday, the Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment because the right-hander threw a tantrum on the mound after giving up three runs when the Nationals had been leading the Mets 25-1. Kelley spiked his glove and glared into the dugout, presumably upset manager Dave Martinez gave him mop-up duty. GM Mike Rizzo said, “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.”
The Nationals have found Kelley a new home. The Athletics announced that the club acquired Kelley from the Nationals in exchange for international slot money. The A’s moved Jake Smolinski to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 40-man roster for Kelley.
Kelley, 34, posted a 3.34 ERA with a 32/5 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings for the Nationals, so the A’s are certainly getting a quality reliever. Kelley will join a more proactive playoff race, as the A’s opened Sunday five games out of first place in the AL West and holding the second Wild Card slot.
The A’s previously bolstered their bullpen in July, acquiring closer Jeurys Familia from the Mets. Kelley and Familia will handle the later innings, setting up for closer Blake Treinen.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.