The St. Louis Cardinals announced that the competition for their fifth starter job is over and the winner is Shelby Miller. With Miller taking starting duties, what will be the fate of his former competitor Joe Kelly? The default thought is to look at this as a loss for Kelly but that isn’t true. It might surprise you what you see if you look at things from Kelly’s point of view.
Manager Mike Matheny said of Kelly that it wasn’t about anything he did wrong; it was just about what makes the Cardinals a better team. Matheny is a straight shooter who would not blow smoke in saying something like that. If he said it, he meant it but what exactly did he say? He did not say that they are a better team without Kelly as a starter. It could be that Matheny means the Cardinals are a better team with Miller starting because Kelly betters the team when he pitches in relief.
I know that sounds strange but look at the numbers. Kelly did a fine job starting last season and his numbers are just fine. If you look closely his numbers in relief are much better though. His ERA is a full run and a half better and his WHIP is also better. The strikeout to walks ratio is twice as good for Kelly out of the pen. I think that both are true in what Matheny said. They are better with Miller as the starter but also much better with Kelly helping out of the pen. Basically while Miller was winning a starter spot, Kelly won a bullpen spot at the same time. No one lost.