The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Keone Kela to a Minor League contract last week in a move that brings more MLB experience to their organizational depth.
Kela has spent parts of seven seasons pitching at the Major League level after making his debut with the Texas Rangers in 2015 when he emerged as one of the best relievers in baseball, posting a 2.39 ERA in 60.1 innings.
However, Kela followed that with a 6.09 ERA in 2016, and in 2017, dealt with a stiff right shoulder that limited him to 38.2 innings despite a rebound season. After the 2017 season, Kela underwent stem-cell therapy to treat the injury.
The L.A. native took over as the Rangers’ closer during the 2018 season before he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the deadline. As the Rangers’ closer, he recorded 24 saves in 25 opportunities with a 3.44 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 38 appearances.
Before he was traded to the Pirates, the Dodgers were reportedly among the most aggressive clubs pursuing Kela.
With the Pirates, he continued to have success in a setup role that carried into the 2019 season. In 2020, he dealt with forearm inflammation that limited him to just three appearances during the shortened season.
Kela signed a one-year contract with the San Diego Padres in 2021, but underwent Tommy John surgery on May 19. He appeared in 12 games for San Diego, posting a 5.06 ERA with 13 strikeouts.
Kela signed a Minor League contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to the 2022 season and released the same day the Dodgers signed him. Kela reported to Triple-A Oklahoma City and gave up two runs (one earned) in his first inning of work.
The 29-year-old has pitched to a 3.33 ERA in 227.1 career innings with 279 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP.
Is Keone Kela eligible for postseason with Dodgers?
The Dodgers made the signing of Kela official on Aug. 31, which means he is eligible to play for the club’s postseason roster.
A player not on a team’s 40-man roster beginning in September can be added to their postseason roster by petition to the commissioner’s office if they were in the organization prior to Sept. 1 and is replacing someone who is on the injured list and has served the minimum amount of time required for activation.
Any players acquired after Aug. 31 are ineligible for the playoffs. Such applies to the Baltimore Orioles, who claimed Jake Reed off waivers from the Dodgers on Monday.
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