It's been a rough season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, particularly over the last 31 games, where they've posted a woeful 7-24 record and now have the second-worst record in the National League.
Despite the atrocious second half, Pittsburgh has a core of young players that could lead to something special, if everything clicks. However, for them to do that, they need to clear out the drama in the clubhouse.
Winning usually solves any rifts between players, coaches and front office members, but it usually doesn't get to the point where people are getting suspended multiple games for their conduct under mysterious circumstances. Enter reliever Keone Kela. Remember this? The reasoning behind his once-secretive "conduct" suspension has now been revealed.
According to The Athletic, back on July 21, Kela, who has a reputation of being a clubhouse problem, had an altercation with performance coach Hector Morales that led to manager Clint Hurdle stepping in to defuse the situation.
Kela may have stopped going after Morales, but he then started berating Hurdle, which was witnessed by several players and coaches. While it's not uncommon for these kinds of things to happen, leading to the manager stepping in, it's far less common for a player to blatantly disrespect his manager publicly.
The very next day, Kela was suspended by the team for two games for violating his contract. Yeah, I'd say getting in the face of your manager like that is not allowed. While Kela didn't make an excuse for his suspension at the time, he didn't totally agree with it, either.
"The narrative is what the narrative is. I know the truth, so I’m not really worried about it. I’m not going to sit here and try to justify…I guess, the suspension or anything like that. … I know the truth and I’m not going to get into any deeper details about it because that won’t benefit me or the organization," Kela said.
If Pittsburgh wants to move forward and start competing in 2020, they need to fix the clubhouse, meaning Kela might need to be traded. However, with his reputation, that's easier said than done.