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.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.