Joe Kelly Didn’t Have ‘Any Doubt’ Over Wanting To Re-Sign With Dodgers

Prior to the headline news of Shohei Ohtani joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, they re-signed Joe Kelly to a one-year, $8 million contract for the 2024 season.

The move was a huge positive for fans because of Kelly’s status as a fiery personality and high-octane arsenal. In a second half effort with the Dodgers last season, he posted a 1.74 ERA, 1.32 FIP, and a 0.87 WHIP.

He’s remained highly effective when both healthy and within the Dodgers’ system. But that’s not the only reason he wanted to stay with the Dodgers at this stage in his career, which he spoke on in an appearance with David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio,:

“No, there wasn’t really any doubt. Like, I pretty much wanted to play for the Dodgers. I don’t really want to go anywhere any from my home anymore. Obviously, with the kids, they got me slaving over here, being Buddy the Elf, putting up lights. So it’s one of those things where my son is old enough now where he wants to stay in one school, play on one team, hang out with the same friends. I pretty much put it up to them, ‘Whenever you want dad to retire, let me know.’ For the rest of my career I’ll probably sign one-year deals and try to be a Dodger for the rest of my career.”

The 2024 season will be his fifth with the team, and in that span, he’s carried a 3.42 ERA in 115.2 innings in the regular season. Kelly has dealt with some arm trouble in recent years, but the Dodgers and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman feel strongly enough to sign him for $8 million.

Kelly’s logged 12 big league seasons and has more left in the tank, but it seems the decision on how long he will keep playing is his family’s decision.

How does Joe Kelly fit into Dodgers bullpen?

With Evan Phillips slotted in as the Dodgers’ closer, Kelly figures to find his home as a middle-to-backend reliever.

Brusdar Graterol had his best season, tallying a 1.20 ERA across 67.1 innings pitched, earning a trusted role with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Kelly has shown an ability to both miss bats, while limiting the home run ball, two qualities that have kept him effective as a big league reliever.

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