Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported that the Rangers and reliever Shawn Kelley were nearing an agreement on a contract. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the deal is worth $2.5 million over one year and includes a club option for a second year. The option is for $2.5 million with a $250,000 buyout.
Kelley, 34, began the 2018 season with the Nationals, but his relationship with the team took a turn for the worst when he threw a tantrum pitching in a mop-up role and allowed a home run to Austin Jackson. The Nationals designated him for assignment and ended up trading him to the Athletics. It came out later that Kelley reportedly almost got into a physical confrontation with GM Mike Rizzo.
Kelley put up a respectable 3.34 ERA in 32 1/3 innings for the Nationals and got even better upon arriving to Oakland. In 16 2/3 innings through the end of the season, he posted a 2.16 ERA. Between both teams, he struck out 50 batters and walked only 11 in 49 innings.
Jose Leclerc handled save situations for the Rangers in the final two months of last season and will likely begin the 2019 season as the closer. Kelley will likely set up for him.