The Tigers are not getting Shawn Kelley in 2016. Instead, he's going to the Nationals, who already have mega-closer and Commander of the Butthead Battalion Jonathan Papelbon, as well as a completely competent former closer in Drew Storen, who was elbowed out of the ninth inning role last year when Chokey McNeckgrab joined the team last year at the trade deadline.
Everybody's getting all hoardy with the good relievers. The Red Sox added Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith to Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa, and the Dodgers were reportedly trying to add Aroldis Chapman to Kenley Jansen. Baseball is a copycat game, and ever since the Royals proved how valuable stockpiling stud relievers can be, it seems that more than a few teams will be trying to follow suit.
But the Tigers aren't getting Shawn Kelley. Did I already mention that?
Winning the Offseason Sweepstakes isn't easy, man. There's that one player you really, really, super-bad-really want for your team, but with 29 other teams out there lurking in the shadows like wolves, ready to pounce on your favorite player and eat the arms off your happiest offseason projections, you really only stand a 97 percent chance of landing him. The odds are overwhelmingly against you, and the offseason is the slow and steady process of reality invading your dreams.
It's not that the Tigers aren't going to be good in 2016. It's just that they're not going to be "we signed Zack Greinke" good. They're not going to be "we traded for Craig Kimbrel" good. Also, they're not getting Shawn Kelley, in case I forgot to say something about that.
I'm really not happy about the Shawn Kelley situation, if I haven't made that clear.
Antonio Bastardo, Shawn Kelley, and Oliver Perez. Those were the three relievers I had sniffed out and targeted back in September. Guys with juicy strikeouts-per-nine-innings numbers, guys with reasonable other stats, guys who wouldn't be terribly expensive, guys with names that are cool and fun to spell. Well, it's not happening. Kelley is going to the Nationals, and Perez just recently signed somewhere ... hang on.
/searches MLB Trade Rumors
OMG WTF CDROM THE NATIONALS GOT OLIVER PEREZ TOO?!
Well, there it is, then. No Shawn Kelley late-innings cocktails on the deck this summer. No Kelley sandwiches, no Kelley salad, no Kelley gravy, Kelley hash, Kelley a la King, or gallons of Kelley soup.
I guess I'm just going to have to be content with the entirely reasonable and roster-strengthening moves Al Avila has made this offseason. K-Rod's a cool closer to have, right? (He is.) Mark Lowe is a high-strikeout, low-FIP acquisition whose arm probably won't burst into flames in 2016, isn't he? (He is, and it won't, knock on wood.)
We'll be fine. The Tigers will be fine. I'll be ok, and Antonio Bastardo is still out there looking for a good home.
But man. The Tigers are not getting Shawn Kelley.
(Related: I found my own personal Team Upon Which to Wish Unlimited Suffering for 2016, BTW.)