Kela, Archer need to back up enthusiasm

PITTSBURGH — MLB players have 72 hours to report to their new team after being traded.

It’s right there in the labor agreement.

Reliever Keone Kela almost stretched that clock to the max when he reported to PNC Park on Friday afternoon. The deal to acquire him from the Texas Rangers was completed in the early morning hours of Tuesday.

The Rangers were in Phoenix when the trade was finalized. According to the always-infallible Interwebs, flying distance from there to Pittsburgh is about three and a half hours.

Depending on airline schedules and the inevitable delays, it’s not unreasonable to suggest Kela could have been here in time for Tuesday evening’s game against the Cubs. If that wasn’t possible, Wednesday’s game was.

General manager Neal Huntington said Kela told him he was anxious to get to Pittsburgh. But Huntington said he later got a wee hours call from Kela’s agent saying the player had decided to return to Texas to pack and take care of details there.

So after he got the cable disconnected and tossed the eggs and milk, he came to Pittsburgh in time for Friday’s game (Thursday was an open date in the schedule).

What happened to switch him from a “can’t wait to get there” mode to “see you when I get there” mindset? That’s a mystery.

For that matter, Chris Archer hit it out of the park with his introductory press conference and wearing a Steelers jersey. But Archer passed on the Pirates’ request to start Wednesday against the Cubs and instead debuted on Friday.

It’s nice that both new acquisitions spoke of their excitement about coming to the Pirates. It would have been even better if they’d backed those sentiments by suiting up as quickly as possible.

Gone awry

Every general manager in professional sports has a tale of woe about a signing gone wrong.

The team commits the money, and it’s smiles all around. Those expressions can change quickly.

Take the case of Jung Ho Kang, who is expected to be unavailable to the Pirates for the rest of this season because of a wrist injury.

Kang’s first season in Pittsburgh ended early because of a devastating knee injury. It was so traumatic that his recovery spilled over into the next season.

Last season he was unable to enter the United States, the result of his horrendous judgment that led to a third DUI conviction.

Kang finally got the work visa late this spring and was working toward coming back when the wrist injury developed. So on a four year investment, the Pirates have gotten two non-seasons and two others abbreviated by injury.

They hold an option on him next season for a very manageable $5.5 million, which will create an interesting decision for the Pirates this offseason.

Out of bounds

Some people can be so dumb, it’s equal parts frightening and depressing.

It’s upsetting to think they’re driving, voting and even worse, reproducing.

Case in point was a question submitted last week to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s online Steelers chat:

“Once (Ryan Shazier) recovers, would it make sense to move him to safety where we can better utilize his speed?”

Shazier is the Steelers linebacker who was very nearly paralyzed in an on-field collision last season. He is learning how to walk without assistance.

And this guy thinks that he will be able to play a violent game at the highest level, and that he’ll be able to run as well as he did before the spinal injury. The questioner also presumes a doctor would sign off on Shazier playing football and that an insurer would underwrite that activity.

It’s a scary world.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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