Nationals Trade Reliever Shawn Kelley to Athletics

By Michael Vesci
Aug. 06, 2018

Five days after Washington Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley had an outburst on the mound after giving up a home run in the ninth inning of a 25-4 Nationals win against the New York Mets, the right-hander has been traded to the Oakland Athletics along with cash considerations. In return, the Nationals will receive international slot money to go after international prospects and free agents.

The move comes following Kelley clearing waivers and now he will head to an A's team that has surged through the American League Wild Card and could have their eyes set on taking the division crown away from the Houston Astros. Since June 1st, the Athletics are 38-18 which has helped propel them to 21 games over .500, surpass the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot, and trail the division-leading Astros by just four games. Adding Kelley to the back end of an already loaded bullpen should set the Athletics up for success for the rest of the regular season and into the postseason. After a rough start to the season, Kelley appeared in 35 games for the Nationals and pitched to a 3.34 ERA.

The right-handed reliever will be added to the bullpen alongside Jeurys Familia who was acquired in a trade with the Mets prior to the non-waiver deadline, the closer (and former teammate) Blake Treinen, and an emerging rookie in Lou Trivino. All these arms set the A's bullpen up to shut down opponents and their offense with the game on the line. The A's bullpen has pitched to an ERA of 2.12 in their last 28 games, a stretch in which Oakland has gone 20-8, including the current six-game win streak they are riding at the moment.

Despite the outburst on the mound in which Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo called "disrespectful to the name on the front of the jersey, the organization, specifically Davey Martinez," Athletics coach Bob Melvin defended Kelley. Melvin called Kelley's outburst "isolated incident" and asked his former teammate Blake Treinen about him. Treinen was on the Nationals with Kelley from 2016-2017 and according to Melvin, "Blake said, 'This is a great guy. That's completely out of character for him.'" It seems the Oakland manager is happy to have the right-hander on the team as he said, "We feel good about him being here."

When talking about the way Kelley could be used as well as his pitching abilities, Melvin said, "It allows us to cut some of the innings on the starters. This is a guy who's had a lot of success, too. Good sink, good fastball, given us problems in the past. Makes us a little bit deeper down there." For sure this move will make the A's an even more attractive team to watch in the playoff race as we head towards the final stretch of the regular season and towards October baseball.

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