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Joe Kelly says recruiting free agents is ‘outdated’ and ‘cheesy’

Kelly
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Kelly says recruiting free agents is ‘outdated’ and ‘cheesy’

The MLB offseason is underway as we await big stars like Aaron Judge and Trea Turner to sign monster contracts. Many teams and other players like to recruit free agents and make a case for why they should sign with a specific team. Reliever Joe Kelly chimed in on that idea, calling recruiting “outdated and cheesy.”

Kelly made the comments on the “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast. He said the way teams try to impress free agents is more suited for college players since they’re young and don’t know what MLB teams can offer.

Kelly thinks it comes more down to how a team can improve the life of the player and his family.

Big leaguers are just like, ‘Hey is the team good, do you have a good family, is the money the same as the offer from someone else?”

Kelly knows a thing or two about free agency, being one twice in his 11-year career. While he hasn’t been a big name like Judge, he says the “perks” that teams offer such as new technology or fancy food aren’t necessary.

“Aaron Judge came from the big leagues of the big leagues,” Kelly said. “The Yankees have the best food — they bring in Brazilian steakhouses to come cut it on your plate. So there’s nothing that a team’s going to show him that Aaron Judge hasn’t seen. So ultimately it’s like, what do you do for family, what are you going to do to give me my alone time, can I talk to less media here? … Wherever you feel more comfortable, what can you do for me on that aspect? Because the money’s going to be the same. But you’re not going to have a bell and whistle and be like, ‘Look at what we have. This is a new technology.’ It’s like, ‘I just had that.’ … It’s stupid. We’re grown men. You can’t ooh and ahh me like I’m an 18-year-old kid. … What are you trying to tell a 30-year-old that he doesn’t already know about this world?”

Kelly via the “Baseball Isn’t Boring” Podcast.

Kelly puts up a really good point. These players are veterans who have seen everything. Things like a fancier clubhouse or better food choices aren’t going to be the deciding factor. They’re nice perks, but players want a team that they see a future for and what’s best for their families. After all, Judge is already 30 years old, and a long-term contract somewhere could be the last team he plays for. In that case, Judge will want a city where he wants to settle down in.

All of this came after Judge appeared in San Francisco over the Thanksgiving week. Judge met with the Giants during that time as well, leaving the team ‘elated.’ Many players are trying their best to get Judge to sign with them, such as Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry.

Kelly says a team shouldn’t have to oversell for a player if they’re a good fit. After all, Judge did grow up in the Bay Area and grew up a Giants fan. Players already know what teams can offer. It’ll end with what they can provide for themselves family-wise and of course money-wise.

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