Feb. 17: The Rays have voided yesterday’s transaction selecting Kelley to the 40-man roster and transferring Kittredge to the 60-day injured list, tweets Neil Solondz of Rays Radio. Voiding the transaction is largely a technicality; the league flagged the transaction, citing a rule that non-roster invitees are ineligible to be selected to the 40-man roster until March 15. The move can still formally be processed at that time. It’s surely discouraging for Kelley, however, as he’ll now be exposed to some injury or performance-based risk over the next month that wouldn’t have been the case had he been immediately added to the 40-man roster.
Feb. 16: The Rays announced Thursday that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Trevor Kelley, who’d been in camp on a minor league deal. Fellow righty Andrew Kittredge, who’s recovering from Tommy John surgery, was transferred to the 60-day injured list in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times suggested earlier that Kelley could be selected to the 40-man roster sooner than later.
Kelley, 30, has seen Major League time with the Red Sox, Phillies and Brewers but has yet to find much big league success. He tallied a career-high 23 2/3 innings with Milwaukee last season but also was knocked around to the tune of a 6.08 ERA. The sidearmer posted a below-average 21.5% strikeout rate but a solid 8.4% walk rate. Home runs have been a major issue for Kelley, however, evidenced by a whopping 11 round-trippers surrendered in just 35 1/3 MLB frames (2.8 HR/9).
Those big league struggles notwithstanding, Kelley possesses an exceptional 1.81 ERA in a much larger sample of 164 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. He’s also punched out 25.7% of his opponents there against an 8.7% walk rate. Kelley has a minor league option remaining as well, so he’ll give the Rays some flexibility with their bullpen. He’s not yet up to a year of MLB service, so if the Rays can coax some of that Triple-A performance out at the Major League level, the Rays can control him for as many as six seasons.
As for Kittredge, he was one of the Rays’ top relievers, pitching to a 2.17 ERA in 99 2/3 innings dating back to 2020. However, the 32-year-old Kittredge was limited to just 20 innings this past season, as a June IL placement due to discomfort in his right elbow ultimately proved a precursor to Tommy John surgery. It’s possible he’ll make it back to the big leagues at some point in the season’s second half, but there’s no way Kittredge was going to be ready within the season’s first couple months, so moving him to the 60-day IL amounts to little more than a formality. If the Rays need another 40-man roster spot, they can do the same with right-hander Shane Baz, who’s also on the mend from Tommy John surgery.
Bro just set a new NRI speedrun world record.
They Rays could make the Absolute BEST “Tommy John Pitching Staff”….
Like of all time.
I don’t even know if there is a close second.
GOAT Closer Esteban Yan
Agreed, they burn through their arms at an alarming rate. I can see why their relievers get injured. They piloted the opener strategy, so they have expected a lot of miles out of their bullpen arms for many years now.
deGrom Texas Ranger
I have never read of voiding a deal in the 13 years I have followed baseball.
Lol. Rays trying to sneak one by Manfred.
There are a handful of instances each season where a team rescinds a move to option a guy to the minors and instead places him on the MLB injured list, but this Kelley/Kittredge voiding is new to me as well.
For Kelley’s sake, I hope he doesn’t suffer any kind of injury in the next month. (I mean, you hope that for any player, but especially so for a journeyman guy who thought he’d gotten some early 40-man protection and was then told “Kidding, you have to wait about four weeks.”)
There would really be no pressing need to add a non-roster invitee to the 40-man in February. If he underperforms and has no options, then the team would have to needlessly DFA and risk loosing the player when the player could have been left as a NRI and assigned to AAA. The reason we have not heard this before is that it was a screw up by the FO.
Strike the options phrase in my comment! Whether the player has options is irrelevant. If the 40-man spot is given to another player it would be a straight DFA.
Trevor Kelley was a 37th round pick by the Red Sox, and has never been the type of pitcher to stay on the roster an entire season. It will interesting to see if he is still added in March, and if so, how long he lasts in Tampa.
He certainly is not 40-man material at this point. Hope he finds something to make himself worthy this spring.
I’m surprised this embarrassing move was made in the first place. You would think that in a tightly run ship like the Rays seem to have, one of the staff members would have flagged this transaction.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Maybe, they expected everyone to be apathetic or unaware in the commissioner’s office.
Well, every single office has “that guy.”