Feldman: What will the Cardinals do once Joe Kelly returns?
By KMOV Web Producer
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The day isn’t approaching. Heck, it may not be here for another few weeks. And by that point the decision could be moot because an injury might occur which, in effect, means there’s no decision at all to be made.
But what in the world are the Cardinals going to do once Joe Kelly returns – fully healthy – to this team?
Watching Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Jaime Garcia be dominant one day and then borderline horrendous the next must be quite frustrating for Mike Matheny and even GM John Mozeliak. No, starting pitching isn’t the problem for the Cards (offense is by far) but any way to make your club better is a positive.
And you can’t sit here and tell me that Kelly doesn’t deserve a spot in the rotation, permanently, based on what he’s done in his career thus far. Forget the 15.1 innings he threw this year where just one earned run was given up before getting hurt.
Look more at the 2.92 career ERA he has in 246.1 innings since being summoned to the big leagues in 2012.
Kelly’s never been more than just a fill-in starter for someone – usually Garcia – who’s hurt. Isn’t it time to change that? Why do others continue to get more and more chances to start in the big leagues when there’s someone who continues to produce whenever he’s given the opportunity?
Offense may be the Cardinals biggest issue at the moment but there is no question starting pitching sets the tone for a game. If you’re getting a tremendous effort there you have a chance no matter what your bats are doing.
Hence, it’s Matheny’s and Mozeliak’s duty to put the best five guys out there in the starting rotation.
Opponents hit roughly .250 off Kelly while he possesses a healthy strikeout rate of 5.96 K/9 in his career. He’ll get himself into trouble on occasion with walks but, man, he almost always finds a way to get out of it with a big pitch.
Kelly deserves a chance to be a rotation staple, not just an injury replacement. Two plus years of acting as the former deserves the opportunity to be the latter.
I don’t know what the corresponding move would have to be. It could be trading Lance Lynn, moving someone to the bullpen or another idea entirely. But after watching the inconsistencies of multiple starting pitchers it’s becoming more and more necessary to warrant the move of someone who will deliver far more consistency.