Pittsburgh Pirates News: Team Acquires Keone Kela

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have made their first move of the 2018 trade deadline.  The team has reportedly acquired a relief pitcher.

Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates had interest in Texas Ranger’s closer Keone Kela.  Well, apparently that trade rumor has come to fruition.  It was reported early Tuesday morning (around 12:30 AM) that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers had reached an agreement for the 25-year-old righty.  The initial report came from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, with Passan tweeting:

"Source: Keone Kela has been traded to the Pirates. 12:31 AM"

After Passan’s tweet, many other media members confirmed the deal such as Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, and Jon Morosi.  However, the most interesting confirmation came from Jon Heyman of Fancred.  As I write this Heyman is the only one reporting what the Pittsburgh Pirates are sending back for the now former Ranger closer.  Heyman tweeted that the team is giving up two prospects:

It was initially reported that the Texas Rangers had interest in Kevin Newman, Jordan Luplow, Tyler Eppler, and Dovydas Neverauskas.  However, Heyman also reported that Kevin Newman is not one of the players going back in the deal.  Obviously, this is a positive as he was by far the highest rated prospect out of that group.  Heyman stated:

"We are waiting for the 2 players going back to Texas for Kela to be told. In the meantime, neither of them is top ss prospect Kevin Newman."

Not long after that John Blake the Executive Vice President of Communications tweeted that the Texas Rangers would be receiving two players to be named later. The Pittsburgh Pirates backed up this report as well via Twitter.   Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the reason the players were not announced is because of how late the deal went through.  The team’s do not want to reveal that players were traded until they are told first.  This makes sense as the players are likely on the east coast and in bed at this late hour. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted that one of the players is true PTBNL while the other has not be informed as of 2:00 AM EST.

Next. Pirates in on Archer. dark

Either way, the Pittsburgh Pirates seemed to have gotten their man.  They waited out and watched many other relievers get traded yesterday.  Now the team has acquired a bullpen arm with lots of experience in high leverage situations.

Also, he is under team control until the end of the 2021 season.  So this should set up the Pittsburg Pirates 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th inning for the next several years with Kela going along with Edgar Santana, Kyle Crick, and Felipe Vazquez.

For his career, Kela owns a 3.45 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP, and has a 11 strikeouts per nine innings pitched ratio. This included a 3.44 ERA this year, a 2.97 FIP, and 44 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched.  Make sure to check back for updates.

UPDATE: 2:25 AM EST

This just leaves a player to be named later. This could mean 1 of 3 things.  The first option is that the player was drafted this year.  Any player drafted cannot be dealt until that season’s World Series is concluded.  Another possibility is that the Rangers are picking from a list of players that the Pittsburgh Pirates said they would be willing to give up one of, the Rangers could decide after doing a little more research. The last possibility could be that the prospect is currently on the minor league disabled list.

UPDATE 9:30

Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects tweets that Kela is a free agent after the 2020 season.  This goes against the original belief that he is controlled through 2021.  Either way he is here for a few seasons.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets that the Player to be Named Later is believed to be a lower tier prospect.