I Don’t Want To Trade Rangers Best Chip

Cory Mageors
July 09, 2018 - 2:53 pm
Keone Kela

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


As we get ready to enter All-Star week, the rumor pot will be boiling over, and the Rangers will likely be involved in a ton of them for a number of reasons.

  1. They are currently last in their division and 20.5 games back and not really even close enough to make a Wild Card run.
  2. They have some veteran pieces that could make an impact for playoff teams
  3. They have some young pieces that could make an impact for playoff teams as well as be future stars for those teams
  4. This is the one I hate the most, leverage

Yes, Texas, and DFW has been used as leverage in plenty of situations and it’s a tough beat every single time for us fans. You think one thing is gonna happen and then mystery team swoops in.

The names are pretty standard for trade commodities. Cole Hamels, Adrian Beltre, Shin Soo Choo. Those are the veterans that have some trade value, but at the moment nothing that will yield the king’s ransom fans or GM’s value as they are trying to move on to the future of the franchise.

Choo, who just made his first ever All-Star roster, has a contract that is heavy for other teams to take on, but he’s hitting hot right now. If I’m a GM with all the money, wouldn’t I love to have him on the roster instead of some random utility infielder with a subpar bat. Of course. Oh but that budget thing.

On the young player front, you would absolutely listen to offers for Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor and Delino Deshields, but you probably aren’t moving on those guys because they are the core at key positions with power.

There is a fascinating, and intriguing name that exists that I don’t want to see go.

Keone Kela.

We’ve seen this name written about and talked about it over and over during Rangers Xtra Innings with the K&C Masterpiece and Jared Sandler.

Every time we talk about it, I convince myself that it’s the only smart thing to do in order to set this franchise in the right direction. But the next day, I realize just how hard it is to find a guy that can do what he does and plays the game the way he plays it, and I don’t want to part ways with that at all.

Kela got a bad rap with some media and whispers from around the organization gave thought to the idea last year that he wasn’t going to work out here.

The shoulder lockup was a problem, and reliability became a problem, and there were some suggestions that he had an attitude problem.

I always got the feeling that a guy like him, with the type of stuff he has, would be smart to sideline himself in some of his cheap years (where major league baseball owners and GMs have wild control) and start to come alive when it’s time for a contract. But that’s just my thought.

As for the attitude, I can see it. I remember the chaos in Toronto. I’ve heard about an outburst here and there, but sometimes you just gotta get a feel for a guy. For us at the K&C Masterpiece, he’s always been fun to talk with and even gives us great tips on people in the clubhouse who make great interviews.

One of our favorite discussions of training camp was with Jesse Chavez, who Kela told us to talk with.

“That dude knows so much about pitching, once you get him started you’re going to be fascinated,” Kela said.

And it turned out to be awesome.

Alright, let's get down to the nitty gritty though.

When it comes to trade time in Major League Baseball, GM’s begin scouring the badlands of non-playoff teams and try plucking some of the top talent for prospects.

At the moment, Kela is a Top 10 closer regarding saves (22) and is the only one that has a perfect record in save opportunities. He rarely walks anybody 12 and has 39 K’s in 32 innings pitched.

What’s really crazy is as good as he is pitching right now, he may have even been more brilliant in 2015, when he pitched 60 innings and walked 18 and struck out 68.

However, in 2014 and 2015 he didn’t pitch more than 38 innings and that may have some sort of red flag for teams searching.

Some of the teams that are contenders have a closer, Seattle has Diaz, Boston has Kimbrel, the Yankees have Chapman and the Dodgers have Jansen.

But the one thing every team is looking for at the trade deadline is depth in the bullpen, so while a team may have an elite closer or a guy they trust, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to have the best options to turn to in the playoffs.

Kela has swagger, he has absolutely no fear when he’s on the mound and he’s everything you want in a closer.

At the moment, he’s also young (25) and budding with talent with two years of arbitration on the table before he becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent in 2021.

If you are planning to be a contender in the next few years, you have to have a guy like Kela in your bullpen. The Rangers want to be that type of team.

We all know how close these guys were to World Series Champions in 2011 with a guy they bounced from starter to closer and all over the place. Since then, the Rangers have constantly been searching for just the right guy to finish games.

They have one in Kela this year, but is he more valuable in another uniform bringing back a platter of prospects or is he more valuable in a couple of years closing games out as the Rangers young team forges its way towards the playoffs?

For me, I don’t want to trade him, I’d rather part with some of the veterans who may not be around when this team takes off.

But once a team starts making offers, I might change my mind.