In heartbreaking news, former Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly has signed to a 3 year, $25 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Joe Kelly wasn’t the best pitcher in the world, even he would tell you that, but the one thing that he was with the Boston Red Sox was electric.
After being acquired in the John Lackey trade in 2014, Kelly didn’t really serve a defined role with the team. He was a starter who couldn’t last five innings but had a high-octane fastball that couldn’t go unnoticed. After a season and a half of scuffling as a starter, the team sent him to Triple-A to become a relief pitcher and high ho, did it ever pay off.
In Kelly’s first season as a reliever in 2017, he had a tidy 2.79 ERA over 58 innings and was a key contributor in one of the best bullpens in the major. However, 2018 was his crowning achievement. Although he was statistically much worse as a pitcher, Kelly provided fans with one of the best moments in recent memory and helped to reignite a rivalry.
Joe Kelly had an up and down 2018, but once the team got to October, Kelly solidified is status. Joey Kittens allowed just one run over 11.1 innings, striking out 13 batters and not allowing a single walk. He was the most dominant pitcher the Sox had not named Nate Eovaldi or David Price. He even struck out the side in the 8th inning of the Game 5 clincher.
I said in my Sox offseason to-do list that re-signing Kelly should’ve been near the top of the team’s priorities, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
I will always love Joe Kelly and appreciate everything he meant to the 2018 Boston Red Sox. Here’s to a successful career in LA and beyond.
Photo by Gary A. Vasquez- USA Today Sports