Dodgers Fill Needs, But Not Without Risk After Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly Trade

In case you missed it, the Los Angeles Dodgers made another trade on Friday as they acquired a pair of pitchers in starter Lance Lynn and reliever Joe Kelly. It’s the team’s third deal leading up to Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline, as they started this week by dealing for utility man Kiké Hernandez and shortstop Amed Rosario.

All of those swaps fill precious needs for the Dodgers as they approach the stretch run, but in the case of the Lynn and Kelly deal, the trade is not without risk for Los Angeles.

Now, as far as the need portion of the deal, it’s perfect for LA on the surface. The team desperately needed rotation depth as Clayton Kershaw is still hampered by shoulder soreness, Julio Urias hasn’t been his usual self, and rookie starter Emmet Sheehan has started to show cracks after a tremendous start to his big league career.

LA could always use another bullpen arm as well, as even though the Dodger relief unit has improved after a historically bad start to their year, another addition could provide some insurance as the season gets set to hit its peak.

But when looking at the Dodgers’ newest additions, the deal has the potential to head south.

When looking at Joe Kelly — a familiar face after spending three seasons in LA — while he still has an electric fastball, there are signs for concern.

He has a 4.97 ERA in 2023 — the second-worst mark of his career behind last season, his first year in Chicago. His stint with the White Sox didn’t go well, and his .327 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) this year would be concerning for a starter — much less a bullpen arm. With that said though, he still has a penchant for the strikeout, with a 12.72 strikeout per nine innings rate, which may help Kelly when he gets to LA.

Additionally, Kelly had arguably the best stretch of his career during his first run with the Dodgers, so they may be able to find a solution for his problems once again.

The same thing goes with Lynn, who has a career-high 6.47 ERA this year after being an All-Star just two years ago. He has a similar BABIP to Kelly with a .328 mark, but he also has a HR/9 ratio of 2.11, another career-high stat for the hurler.

The Dodgers have built a reputation for building players into solid contributors, and that could be just the recipe Lynn and Kelly need.

But if they can’t get back to their past greatness quickly, this trade has the potential to backfire.

Photo Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Wagner

Matt Wagner was born and raised in southern California, and he lived there before moving to Colorado and getting his B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2022. He relocated back to southern California in 2023 and is looking forward to covering the Dodgers again here at Dodgers Nation. Some of his past work is in Bleacher Report, Dodgers Tailgate, and, most recently, Colorado Buffaloes Wire. Aside from writing, you can probably catch him petting the nearest dog or eating some good Mexican food.

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