Don Kelly | Everything | #32
2014 salary: $1 million
2013 statistics: .222/.309/.343, 6 HR, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 SB, 27 BB, 28 K
Projected role: Utility everything
Rather fortuitously timed, this. With Andy Dirks ruled out for three months after back surgery, Don Kelly’s role on the 2014 Tigers may well have just significantly expanded. Before today, he was going to be what he always has been: a guy who can play any outfield position and most infield positions in a pinch. Now, unless the Tigers can find someone else rather quickly, he may end up taking Dirks’s role as the lefty half of a left field platoon, at least until June or so.
Now it’s entirely possible someone like Ezequiel Carrera could impress Brad Ausmus and co. enough that he might get a shot, or they might find someone outside the organization they’d prefer, but for now, Kelly’s role probably expands some. He’s shown his use as a utility man over the past few years, but it’s a bit of an issue if he’s playing regularly. He hasn’t been significantly better against RHP than Rajai Davis has, and one of the first things that was established after Davis joined the club was that he should see as few right-handed pitchers as possible.
So Kelly offers few solutions to the Dirks issue. He’s Don Kelly. He’s not going to hit much but you can plug him into most positions and he’ll do well defensively. Could he help get the Tigers through to June intact? Probably. I doubt he’ll ruin their season – he’s logged over 200 plate appearances in two separate seasons in which the Tigers won 90 games with relative ease. But he’s definitely no more than a short-term replacement for Dirks.