The Pirates and Brewers already swung a deal Monday, when Pittsburgh sent starter Jordan Lyles to Milwaukee. The rotation and bullpen still look like concerns for the Brewers, whose less-than-stellar pitching has left the reigning NL Central champions in danger of missing the playoffs. However, with a 56-51 record, the Brewers are very much in the thick of the postseason race. They’re a game back of the division-leading Cubs and Cardinals, facing the same deficit in the wild-card hunt and could make further upgrades by Wednesday’s trade deadline.
To this point, acquiring Kela at last year’s deadline hasn’t paid off as planned for the Pirates (nor has their 2018 deadline pickup of starter Chris Archer). The Pirates sent two pitching prospects to the Rangers for Kela, but the trade didn’t help lead to a playoff berth then and it won’t this season.
Kela has missed most of 2019 with right shoulder problems, and just as he returned from the injured list last week, the Pirates issued the 26-year-old a two-game suspension for an altercation with one of their coaches. The Pirates are now reportedly open to trading Kela, who has tossed three scoreless innings with four strikeouts, a walk and two hits allowed since returning from his short ban. Overall, Kela has logged a 3.68 ERA (and a much less encouraging 5.07 FIP) with 9.2 K/9, 3.07 BB/9, 1.84 HR/9 and a 31.0 percent groundball rate in 14 2/3 innings this season.
While 2019 has been a campaign to forget for Kela, he has mostly been an effective late-game option since debuting with the Rangers in 2015. Dating back to then, the hard-throwing Kela owns a 3.43 ERA/3.35 FIP with 11.04 K/9, 3.43 BB/9, 0.99 HR/9 and a GB percentage of 41.0 across 199 2/3 frames. He’s also affordable ($3.175MM salary) and set to go through arbitration one more time.