One of the main pieces that the Dodgers acquired over the trade deadline this season was veteran relief pitcher Joe Kelly from the Chicago White Sox. Kelly came over to the team in a deal that also netted them starter Lance Lynn.
It was a reunion for Kelly and the Dodgers since he was with the team a few years ago. LA believed that he could help them out of the bullpen, and he was solid for them throughout the second half of the season.
He has a club option for $9.5 million next season, and it remains to be seen if the Dodgers pick it up. Kelly was a valuable member of the bullpen, but they may be able to spend that money around a little more effectively.
However, it may not even matter as Kelly has been toying with the idea of retirement now that the season is over.
“I joke around with the team and the guys all the time where it’s like, well if we win the World Series, I’m definitely, like 100%, retiring,” Kelly told WEEI’s Rob Bradford on Audacy’s “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast. “I kind of wanted to go out on my own and be the only guy in the history of the game to retire that could still throw 101 (miles per hour). I thought that would’ve been kind of interesting.”Per Joe Kelly via Nesn.com
It would be hard to see Kelly retiring from the sport after another good season, but he is getting up there in age. He is 35 years old and he may not want to go through the grind of another season.
Over 39.1 innings of work this season, Kelly posted an ERA of 4.12, while striking out 60 batters. He still has the velocity in his pitches, giving him his signature ability intact.
If Kelly doesn’t retire, a return to LA makes the most sense, But the team will likely need to sign him back on a more team-friendly contract. It would keep him in town, but allow LA to use money on some other options as well.
It remains to be seen if Kelly will return next season, but LA would love to have him. He is a trusted member of the bullpen, a fan favorite and gives them a nice veteran presence as well.
Photo Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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