Dodgers ‘very close’ to reeling in fan-favorite


The Dodgers appear to be zeroing in on a deal that will bring Joe Kelly back to their bullpen. The veteran pitcher has had an on-again-off-again relationship with the team for several years.

Kelly’s most recent stint with the Dodgers came on July 28, when he was traded by the Cardinals alongside Lance Lynn. Kelly, 35, went 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his final 11 appearances of the season for the Dodgers.

After the end of the year, Kelly became a free agent once again. Despite relatively strong numbers out of the veteran, the Dodgers declined his $9.5 million team option for 2024, a move that led him to the open market.

“Joe Kelly and the Dodgers are close to a deal” – Talkin’ Baseball

While he only pitched 10 innings in 2023 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kelly was one of the team’s best arms when it did matter. The Dodgers’ bullpen posted a combined ERA of 3.42 last year, giving them the second-best number in the National League.

Thankfully for the team, it appears as though the Dodgers will be able to keep most of their light-out relief core around for 2024. The one notable exception is reliever Shelby Miller. Miller posted a 1.76 ERA across 35 appearances last year, and has since opted for free agency.

Prior to this season ending off with the Dodgers, Joe Kelly was a member of the team from 2019 until 2021. Originally a Cardinals draft pick, Kelly won the 2018 World Series as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

“Good morning to everyone, but an especially good morning to Joe Kelly.” – Jodi Umo

Known for his screaming fastball, which can top off at 102 mph, Kelly has become a sort of fan favorite in LA. Kelly gained acclaim from the Dodgers fanbase for deliberately hitting Houston Astros players Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa in 2020, and then making mocking the Astros’ bullpen with a bizarre facial gesture.

Having Joe Kelly back in the bullpen will be business as usual for the LA Dodgers

Although last year was a sort of microcosm for Kelly, the experienced right-hander has proven his value to the team over the long-term. While getting Kelly to re-sign will raise some eyebrows after the Dodgers paid $1 million to decline his team option, sometimes circumstances change. In this case, the team likely realized that they could do worse than Joe Kelly.

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