Dodgers Will ‘Very Much Be In The Mix’ To Re-Sign Joe Kelly
Joe Kelly
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

Joe Kelly was an important part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen this past season, but that didn’t stop the club from declining their team option for the 2022 season.

It was worth $12 million and had a $4 million buyout, so the Dodgers saved $8 million by choosing the path they did.

With his optioned declined, Kelly joined the Dodgers’ group of free agents that most notably includes Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor.

However, even though the 33-year-old is now on the market, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman made it clear the team plans to pursue re-signing Kelly, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

The Dodgers will “very much be in the mix” to re-sign reliever Joe Kelly, Friedman said. “Joe is one of a kind. Love what he brings to a clubhouse. Awesome competitor,” Friedman said.

Kelly originally signed a three-year contract worth $25 million prior to the 2019 season that included the aforementioned option for 2022.

During that time he was inconsistent, posting a 4.56 ERA in 51.1 innings in 2019 and a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings during the pandemic-shortened season last year.

Kelly is coming off his best campaign with the Dodgers as he pitched to a 2.86 ERA and 3.08 FIP in 44 innings across 48 appearances. He also became one of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts trusted high-leverage arms down the stretch.

Some of that was attributed to surgery that removed a cyst and alleviated discomfort he had been experiencing.

“Just everyday things of washing my hair, reaching for a backpack, laying down on my back, that burned,” Kelly explained. “Kind of like if there were fire ants inside my arm and moving down my hand. Getting rid of that was definitely a plus.

“That’s where I found a day or two days after surgery, you’re definitely banged up, but I got instant relief. It was great to know it was successful. After that I’m a normal human being again.”

Kelly will recover by 2022

Although Kelly was healthy this past season, that ended during the playoffs as he exited Game 5 of the National League Championship Series with a right biceps strain.

There was initial concern Kelly would not make a full recovery in time for Opening Day of the 2022 season, but that is no longer considered to be the case and he is already doing light throwing.

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