The Mets announced on Tuesday afternoon that they had signed Ty Kelly to a minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training. Hopefully this wasn’t the big move that Sandy Alderson was hinting at when he introduced Jay Bruce last week. While Kelly will help New York’s infield depth in 2018, he’s unlikely to make a big impact in the majors.
Kelly tweeted that he’s excited to be back with the Mets, a team that holds a special place in his heart. Six years after being drafted by the Orioles, Kelly signed with New York in November 2015 and made his first ever big league appearance in May 2016 against Washington. He hit .241/.352/.345 that season while showing an ability to draw walks and play multiple positions, but the Mets designated him for assignment about a week after the start of the 2017 campaign.
The Blue Jays selected Kelly off waivers and shipped him to Philadelphia before April ended. Thanks to the rebuilding state of the Phillies, Kelly was able to return to the majors and get into 69 games in 2017, but this time he only hit .193/.260/.341 with a pair of home runs. Although Kelly has been a solid contact hitter throughout his career, with Philadelphia he struck out in 24 percent of plate appearances. With his limited power, that’s something that he needs to improve upon if he hopes to return to the big show with the Mets.
Getting in Kelly’s way are backup infielders Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds, although it’s not as though those two are proven commodities. If Kelly impresses the new coaching staff in spring training, it’s not hard to imagine him in a utility role on the initial 25-man roster.