Brewers: Reliever Keone Kela An Intriguing Bullpen Option To Consider

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Apr 21, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Keone Kela (27) pitches during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 21, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Keone Kela (27) pitches during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Padres announced they were declining the option on right handed reliever Keone Kela.  Entering his age-29 season, he may be a prime pick up for the Brewers as he continues to rehabilitate from Tommy John surgery.

The Brewers are in need of more bullpen depth; although recovering from Tommy John Surgery, Keone Kela could be a solid bullpen addition for Milwaukee.

Kela has battled injuries for the past three seasons, only throwing 12.2 innings since the start of the 2020 season, and also missed a majority of the season back in 2019 battling elbow inflammation. When he is healthy enough to pitch, he relies almost exclusively on his four-seam fastball and curveball.

The curveball is also an intriguing pitch for Kela, holding opponents to a .179 batting average, and .286 slugging percentage last season. He also recorded 9 of his 12 strikeouts on that pitch in 2021.

Kela’s ERA has not been particularly impressive the past few seasons, recording a 4.50 ERA in 2020, and a 5.06 in 2021, among a very small sample. Back in 2019 Kela did record a 2.12 ERA with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Since the start of 2019, Kela has thrown 42.1 Innings, and has recorded a 10.42 K/9, 3.19 BB/9, 1.15 HR/9,  2.98 ERA, and a 4.17 FIP.

The Brewers bullpen depth was tested throughout the season, and with Hunter Strickland and Brad Boxberger both filing for free agency, the Brewers need to replenish the bullpen depth behind Josh Hader and Devin Williams.

It is unclear how available Kela will be at any point in the upcoming 2022 season, but he appears certain to miss the first half of the season. The Brewers have previously signed players who will be out for the season, as they have with Luis Perdomo in December of 2020, who was coincidentally released by the Padres after having Tommy John surgery.

Kela would miss most of the season, but he still could be an interesting option for the Milwaukee Brewers to look at now to hopefully serve as a midseason pickup as Milwaukee continues to reconfigure their roster for the 2022 championship race.

A signing of Kela would essentially be a pre-emptive Trade Deadline pickup without having to give up any prospects and supplementing a bullpen that would likely get supplemented anyways at the Deadline. Despite being a relatively big name previously, his returning from injury is going to drop his price and he’s essentially going to be looking for the best opportunity to recoup his value rather than upfront money in 2022, as most offers will probably be similar.

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When it comes to Milwaukee, this organization is known for getting the most out of their pitchers

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