The Red Sox lost another key bullpen arm. Right-hander Joe Kelly is heading back west, signing a three year, $25 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Broken first by reporters such as Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan, the California native signed with the team that he consistently dominated throughout his career.
The 30-year-old has been a member of the Red Sox since 2014 when he was traded along with Allen Craig to Boston for a package centered around John Lackey at the trade deadline. Kelly made the transition from starter to a reliever during 2016 after he got injured early in the year.
Kelly appeared in a career-high 73 games this year for the Red Sox, going 4-2 with a 4.39 ERA. He struggled mightily throughout the midway point of the season after being dominant to start the year, leading to speculation that he wouldn’t be pitching come to the playoffs.
He was just able to make the postseason roster, where he started by only pitching in the six inning or situations where the Red Sox were behind, but gradually worked his way up to being the premier reliever the Red Sox would feature in addition to a starter as the bridge to Craig Kimbrel at the end of the World Series.
Kelly ended up appearing in five postseason games, pitching six innings and not giving up a run while striking out 10. The resurgence of Kelly was the key piece that transformed the Sox bullpen into a dominant, shut down machine.
The Red Sox meanwhile have lost their setup man, and Craig Kimbrel remains unsigned. They are rumored to be interested in David Robertson and Adam Ottavino so a signing of either one wouldn’t be a surprise.