The Don Kelly era in Detroit appears to be over. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported that Kelly has agreed to a minor league contract and invite to spring training with the Miami Marlins. Kelly was outrighted to Triple-A Toledo by the Tigers in October, but declined the assignment and elected to become a free agent.
Kelly spent five seasons with the Tigers. He appeared in 545 games with the team, many as a defensive replacement. At the plate, Kelly hit .234/.297/.340 with 23 home runs and 16 stolen bases. He played every defensive position on the diamond in his time with the Tigers, including a lone pitching appearance in 2011 when he retired the only batter he faced.
While his defensive versatility was his calling card, Kelly also had a couple of big postseason moments with the Tigers. His solo home run in Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS helped propel the Tigers to a 3-2 victory and into their first of three consecutive American League Championship Series. Kelly also drove home the winning run in 5-4 victory in Game 2 of the 2012 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics.
Kelly's contributions to the club were marginal. He is barely above replacement level according to both Baseball Reference's and Fangraphs' versions of WAR, and never had 300 plate appearances in a season with the Tigers. However, Kelly was a fan favorite for many reasons, and his departure has received an outpouring of sadness from Tigers fans all over social media.