The Los Angeles Dodgers have their first big signing of the offseason and it’s a reliever.
Joe Kelly has agreed to a three-year deal worth $25M, per Ken Rosenthal, Robert Murray and Jeff Passan.
Kelly has some history with the Dodgers that dates back to 2013 when he broke Hanley Ramirez’s rib with an errant pitch in the NLCS. Then he was lights out this past season in the World Series, where he appeared in all five games and struck out 10 in six scoreless innings.
All in all, the right-hander allowed just two runs (one earned) in 11.1 innings this postseason, striking out 13 and walking none.
It’s a stray from the norm for Andrew Friedman, who is known for building bullpens for cheap. Other than Kenley Jansen, no other full-time reliever made more than $3M last season.
Kelly did have his struggles in 2018 though. He finished with a 4.39 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 68 strikeouts and 32 walks in 73 appearances (65.2 innings). Before his mighty October, the 30-year-old had an 8.31 ERA in the month of September.
Assuming he pitches more like he did in the postseason, Kelly will be a valuable weapon in the later innings. He’s a very solid candidate to be Jansen’s setup man.
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