July 31, 2018 / 8:48 AM / 4 months ago

Pirates snag RHP Kela from Rangers

FILE PHOTO: Jul 29, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Keone Kela (50) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates, just 3 1/2 games out of a playoff position, added to their bullpen Monday night by acquiring right-hander Keone Kela from the Texas Rangers.

Pittsburgh will send two players to be named to Texas to complete the deal.

“Kela is an experienced, quality, high-leverage reliever who projects to be a significant addition to our late-game options for the next few seasons,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement.

Kela, 25, was held out of the Rangers’ 9-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix on Monday, and the deal was announced minutes after the game concluded.

After entering this season with just three career saves, Kela emerged as Texas’ closer. He was 24-for-25 in save opportunities to go with a 3-3 record and a 3.44 ERA. Kela struck out 44 and walked 14 in 36 2/3 innings over 38 appearances.

In four major league seasons, all with Texas, Kela is 19-10 with a 3.45 ERA and 27 saves over 180 appearances, all in relief.

Kela could form an effective righty-lefty, late-inning combination for Pittsburgh as he joins Felipe Vazquez. The Pirates’ incumbent closer, an All-Star earlier this month, is 23-for-27 in save chances with a 3.02 ERA this year.

The Rangers selected Kela in the 12th round of the 2012 draft out of Everett (Wash.) Community College. The Los Angeles native went to high school in Washington state, then didn’t sign when selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 29th round in 2011.

—Field Level Media

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