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Let’s stay together: Don Kelly returns to Jim Leyland, Tigers

Jan 16, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT

Don Kelly AP

Don Kelly is back with the Tigers, agreeing to a minor-league deal that allows manager Jim Leyland to potentially give his favorite player a spot on the bench for another season.

Kelly is a 33-year-old career .232 hitter with a .628 OPS who only plays the corner spots defensively, but Leyland has always talked him up like crazy while also playing him more than he probably should.

And so today, after the news of Kelly re-signing, I imagine Leyland taking a nice long drag off his cigarette(s) and listening to this:

  1. icanspeel - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Maybe Kelly has 1 of those intangibles such as being a clubhouse leader? Stuff like that gets overlooked a lot from the outside.

    • dink53 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Homered in Game 5 in 2011 to beat the Yorkies in the ALDS. That gives him a special place, regardless of subsequent ineffectiveness.

  2. historiophiliac - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM


    • cur68 - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      Ah c’mon. He’s not a young punk like Trout, y’know. He’s a crusty older guy using his wiles and smarts to stay in the game. I thought you were an aficionado of crusty older guys with the staying power and the moves to last? That should be a “YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!” from you.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        “Proven performance” I said. Not “proven poor performance.” I don’t love age for it’s own sake. I like experience AND skill. Geez. Erratic old dudes aren’t any better than erratic young studs.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        Well you know, when men get to a certain age, performance can be inconsistent… we’re still talking about Baseball right?

      • cur68 - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Of course we’re still talking about baseball, FC. We never stray from that topic here on HBT. Anyhow, Kelly can handle life at the park well enough to stick in the Majors (at least last season he could). Homie need a break, ‘philliac. Just needs a little kindness and understanding, is all. FC’s right: he might be a little inconsistent, but I’m gonna wager he puts in the effort, otherwise Leyland wouldn’t want hims around for you to ‘preciate. You shouldn’t hold a little inconsistency against the dude.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        No, he couldn’t handle it, Cur. That’s why he stayed on the bench so much & got cut at the end of the season. He has a negative WAR — he’s not even replacement level. He’s only 32. He shouldn’t need PED’s yet (as follows from FC’s comment). This must be some kind of Canadian plot to drag down the AL Champs by playing on Leyland’s legendary loyalty. Evil beaver men!

    • evan5 - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      At least it’s not Raburn.

      Also, if Don makes the team (I have this sneaking suspicion he will (DAMN YOU Leyland!)) then there is really no point in keeping Santiago around. Personally, I’d rather use youth in those positions but I understand wanting to give plenty of playing time to developing players too.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        I love Leyland. I’m glad he doesn’t Valentine his players, but isn’t it annoying when DD has to use the DL to cut him off? Dang. It’s gonna be like w/ Inge last year — “Well, he’s not hitting for average, but he is hitting the ball hard.” WTH.

        I sincerely hope this move is prep for a nice trade where we give up a bunch of swirlies to get a cat eye.

      • evan5 - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        Yeah I love Leyland too, but some of his game management decisions leave a lot to be desired. He is far too patient waiting for one of his buddies to “run into one.” With the roster we have today, there is no reason for Kelly to get any significant playing time barring injury to a starter. But knowing Jimmy, he’ll get Don plenty of playing time because of lefty-righty matchups, or because Don is 3-5 career against the pitcher they’re facing that day…

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      “I am glad he doesn’t Valentine his players.”
      If I could give you (2) thumbs ups I would. Or is it thumb ups? Either way…well played.
      I am using this one Philiac. Please know I will give you credit from time to time.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      Hahaha! I couldn’t help myself Philiac.
      An example of the hypocrisy we were discussing previously.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        PC! PC!

  3. xjokerz - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Tigers always have a problem letting go of HORRIBLE white players…check Brandon Inge… >_<

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Why do they have to be White?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:01 PM

        Oh, snaps, Woodpecker! lol

  4. joerymi - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    A below average player at every aspect of the game. Good utility players are good at one thing, at the least. Quintin Berry; very nice utility player. Don Kelly; not so much.

    I always hear the talk that Illitch is looking for a ring to go with his Stanley Cups. Yet, the likes of Don Kelly and Brandon Inge continue to get chance after chance after chance.

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