The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a three-year contract with right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley on Friday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Kelley, a veteran of seven Major League seasons, will join the Nationals after posting a 2.45 ERA and a 2-2 record in 53 games for the San Diego Padres in 2015. He struck out 63 batters and walked just 15 in 51.1 innings pitched.
The 31-year-old is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as his 2.45 ERA (14 ER/51.1 IP) and 1.091 walks and hits per innings pitched marks were his best since an injury-shortened 2011 season. His 4.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio was his best since 2009 (4.56), his rookie season, and ranked 11th among National League relievers in 2015.
Over his final 45 appearances of the 2015 season, Kelley went 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA (5 ER/42.2 IP) and six holds, along with 54 strikeouts against just 10 walks and limited the opposition to a .184 batting average. His 1.05 ERA over that stretch was the best mark of any National League pitcher with at least 30.0 innings pitched. From July 30 through the end of the season, he allowed just one earned run over his final 21 appearances (15.1 IP), striking out 24 batters, allowing nine hits and walking eight.
Kelley was particularly tough on right-handed batters in 2015, surrendering just two extra-base hits while allowing them to post just a .218 (22-for-101) average against on the season. From May 30 through the end of the year, Kelley did not allow an extra-base hit to a right-handed batter, a stretch that spanned the final 98 right-handed hitters he faced.
Kelley began his Major League career with the Seattle Mariners (2009-12) before joining the New York Yankees (2013-14) and the Padres (2015).
In 289 career appearances, Kelley is 19-19 with a 3.67 ERA while posting 10.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and a 3.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was originally selected in the 13th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and was acquired by the Padres from the Yankees on December 29, 2014.
With the addition of Kelley, the Nationals currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster.