Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
Saturday, the Dodgers declined their option on Joe Kelly, making him a free agent. As a Dodger, Kelly has been inconsistent and injury prone. Although the Dodgers did not want to pay Kelly $12 million for 2022 season, they can negotiate a new contract with Kelly.
Before becoming a Boston Red Sox, Kelly was a starter with control problems while with the Saint Louis Cardinals. His pitches – 100+-miles-per-hour fastball, an outstanding curveball, a good slider, and a changeup – are one of the finest repertoires in the Major Leagues. If Kelly can locate the strike zone, no opposing hitters can hit Kelly, but when he struggled with his control, he gets into trouble. During the 2021 season, Kelly rarely had problems with throwing strikes.
After having a cyst removed from his shoulder during the 2020-2021 season, Kelly started slowly but had his best season as a Dodger. He rarely had control problems. In 48 games, he had two wins and a 2.86 ERA with 50 strikeouts. During the postseason, he was dominant until Game 6 in the against the world champions Atlanta Braves when he strained his biceps.
Kelly is expected to be ready for spring training. The Dodgers should try to negotiate with him since Kelly’s talent and experience is impossible to replace.