Tampa Bay Rays: Leaving Kevin Kelly off the roster
I was tempted to go with Taj Bradley here, but Kelly was an interesting omission from the postseason roster.
Kelly was very solid for the Rays out of the bullpen this season, posting a 3.09 ERA in 57 appearances. He has multi-inning experience, too, and could have been a valuable piece in the late innings for the Rays, especially considering that both right and left-handed hitters are averaging a mere .211 against him this season.
Texas Rangers: Having Will Smith on the roster
I know some folks would be tempted to have Austin Hedges here, but Hedges is an elite defender. It’s why he’s stuck in baseball for as long as he has despite being a below-average defender. He’s also a great locker room player, and that’s invaluable to any franchise.
Let me just say this: I understand why the Rangers put Smith on their wild card roster. His extensive career and postseason success warrant it. But his recent numbers - six hits and six earned runs in his last four innings - would have given me pause. But he’s fresh, and hasn’t allowed a run in his last two innings, so it’s possible he has put those struggles behind him.