The Los Angeles Dodgers’ group of free agents this offseason expanded to include Joe Kelly, whose $12 million team option for the 2022 season was declined. The right-hander instead received a $4 million buyout and reached the open market for the first time since 2018.
Kelly just completed his third and most successful season with the Dodgers as he posted a 2.86 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 0.98 WHIP in 44 innings pitched over 48 games.
Kelly was not among the free agents to sign a contract before the MLB lockout began, but he figures to receive plenty of interest once business resumes. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman previously indicated the team will be in the mix to re-sign the 33-year-old.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Cardinals could also be a potential fit for Kelly:
Former Cardinal Joe Kelly also is a free agent who has several traits the Cardinals seek.
The Cardinals selected Kelly in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft and he pitched over parts of three seasons with the organization from 2012-14. Primarily used as a starter, Kelly went 17-14 with a 3.25, 3.99 FIP and 1.38 WHIP in 266 innings (68 games; 38 starts).
As St. Louis looks to bolster its bullpen, one reliever they don’t appear to be interested in is Kenley Jansen, as Goold previously relayed:
I have not been able to connect the Cardinals to Jansen. Before the lockout began, the Cardinals spoke with just about every agent about just about every reliever, so at some point they would have explored what Jansen is looking for — if that’s just to back to the Dodgers, or something else from another team. That said, the Cardinals’ interest/attention/energy was on other relievers, ones who could be used as a closer, but not only a closer.
Jansen compiled a solid 2.22 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 1.04 WHIP with 38 saves across 69 appearances last year, but his market was surprisingly quiet before the work stoppage, with only the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins reportedly showing interest.
Despite previous reports that the Dodgers were hoping to bring back Jansen, he is expected to sign elsewhere this winter.
Kelly’s favorite baseball moments involve ‘battling’ MLB
Kelly recently revealed that taking MLB to court twice in the last four seasons are his favorite baseball moments thus far.
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