Breaking News: Jarred Kelenic is fired up with Atlanta Braves…

Jarred Kelenic: “I’m fired up” about joining the Atlanta Braves.

Castillo, Kelenic lead Mariners to win over Rockies |

The outfielder, only 24, gets a fresh start in Atlanta and he’s doing it with a new perspective.

Breaking his foot after kicking a water cooler in frustration last summer made Jarred Kelenic realize doesn’t want to be an example, he wants to set the example.

“I thought about all the kids back in Wisconsin that see something like that. That’s not what I want them to see. That’s not what I want them to be.”

“That isn’t something that I was going to let slide and I was never going to let that happen again.”

Kelenic, who was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Atlanta Braves last weekend in a surprising trade to open the MLB Winter Meetings, talked to the media via Zoom on Wednesday. To open the call, he admitted he wasn’t expecting to get traded, but is excited about the surprise opportunity to join one of MLB’s premiere organizations.

“I mean, they’re some of the best players in the game on that roster. And that’s one thing that I’m really looking forward to. I think that it’ll allow me to just get comfortable in the box and really hone in on what makes me click and what makes me the best version of myself.”

That best version is what was on display to open the season in Seattle, where Kelenic batted .308/.365/.615 with seven homers in the first 26 games of the season.

He attributes the success, albeit fleeting, to confidence and consistency in his mechanics.

“I think everything was just kind of synced up really well. […] I had a lot of moving parts, I would say. I had a bigger leg kick naturally, a hand/palm thing that was kind of working for me. And I just think that I was being really consistent with my movements. My body was feeling really good. I was fresh from the offseason. It was early. And so I think that was everything was synced up and I was just seeing the ball really well”.

But as the season continued, Kelenic began to lose those mechanics – as fatigue set in, everything started to drift out of sync. “My hand pump kind of got a little bit bigger. My hands were dropping a little bit lower. My leg kick was kind of getting a little bit higher subconsciously. […] my body wasn’t moving as consistently, and I think that if your body’s not going to move consistently, I don’t think you’re really going to ever see consistent results.”

Correcting that mechanics drift is one of his main goals this offseason. “Something that I want to focus on is making sure that I’m a little bit more short and compact, so I’m able to be a little bit more consistent so that I can hopefully have those first two months of the season (results) the entire year.”

And rest assured, Kelenic thinks that not only is the issue correctable, he can maintain that early season performance over the full schedule if everything breaks right.

“I still believe in the ability that I have. I know what I’m capable of doing. I think I’m capable of doing that throughout a season.”

But Jarred will admit that the incident last summer, where he broke his foot kicking a cooler in the dugout after a strikeout, helped him realize something had to change in his mindset.

“One of the things that I just opened my eye to after something like that happened: I caused it. Like it was all on me. I was the one that chose to do it. […] Because I broke my foot, I wasn’t able to go out and play every single day. And those fans that paid money to come and watch me play, I took that personally that because I did something stupid, I wasn’t going to be able to be out there and play for the fans that were coming to watch.”

But in a very poignant moment of retrospection, Kelenic admitted that the incident was ultimately a positive, because it forced him to reevaluate how he approaches the game of baseball.

“It made me take a step back and realize how lucky and how thankful I am to be in the position that I am. And I get to go out – ever since I was a young kid I wanted to play in the big leagues, and here I am. And when I’m in the big leagues and I’m breaking my foot because of frustration – that just can’t happen, and and it made me appreciate the game a little bit more.”

The trade also allows Kelenic to relax a bit and get back to just enjoying the game of baseball again. In a lineup with such heavyweights as Ronald Acuña Jr, Matt Olson, and Austin Riley, he won’t need to carry the offensive burden on a daily basis.

“Yeah, I mean, I think the most exciting thing for me is being able to not only be teammates with those guys , but also be able to just kind of watch how they go about their business on a day to day (basis) and really learn the ins and the outs of what they’re doing because obviously it’s working.”

“I mean, they’re some of the best players in the game on that roster. And that’s one thing that I’m really looking forward to. And I think that it’ll allow me to just get comfortable in the box and really hone in on what makes me click and what makes me the best version of myself.”

“And I think if I can just focus on that, I think, I’ll be right where I need to be.”

And where he needs to be, as he’s realizing, is Atlanta. With an organization that believes in him and showed they wanted him, going out and taking on double digit millions in 2024 salary to acquire him.

“I had some conversations with some people in the front office with the Braves and they spoke really highly of me when we talked on the phone. I was really happy to hear that. And at the end of the day, I know that I need to just go out and take care of business and do my job and that’s all I can control. But to hear the support that I have from an organization that I haven’t even played for yet was definitely reassuring.”

“And it makes me like just super excited to get to work and get out to Florida and start spring training.”

And who knows, with both Kelenic and Braves hitting consultant Chipper Jones being big outdoorsmen – “I’m a huge hunter”, he told us – maybe that bond will form quickly.

“Chipper is definitely one of the best to ever do it. And the knowledge that I’m sure he has, I’m looking forward to picking his brain here (and hearing) what he has to say.”

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