7:57 p.m.: Kelly’s deal also contains club option for 2024, New York Post’s Joel Sherman tweetThe total value of the deal is $17 million in guaranteed money.
6:19 p.m.: The White Sox signed right-handed Joe Kelly to a two-year contract, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). The signing will become official when Kelly passes a physical examination. Kelly is represented by the agency ACES.
The White Sox are a somewhat surprising suitor for Kelly, having inked Kendall Graveman to a three-year, $24 million deal before lockdown They are also on the hook for a total of $29 million in 2022 for Liam Hendricks and Craig Kimbrel. Aaron Bummer is also under contract, and Garrett Hook can also work out of the bullpen. MLB.com’s Scott Merkin notes that Kelly’s signing “could indicate a Kimbrel trade on the horizon, but the White Sox aren’t just giving Kimbrel away.”
Kelly, 33, is generally considered one of the toughest relievers in the game, although every year more relievers are able to average 98 miles per hour like him. During his three years with the Dodgers, Kelly has increased his strikeout rate, reaching 27.5% in 44 innings in 2021. In recent years, his control has generally fallen within the acceptable range of the free pass show at 8 % of batters. season.
Kelly played a key role for the Red Sox in the 2018 playoffs, allowing an earned run in 11 1/3 frames. Kelly switched sides after helping the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in the World Series, as Los Angeles signed him to a three-year, $25 million deal with a club option for 2022.
Kelly staged an unspectacular 2019 season for the Dodgers He earned a five-game suspension in the shortened 2020 season, also spending time on the shelf with shoulder inflammation before helping his club again to win the World Series, but not with the same impact. as he had done for Boston. Kelly quietly underwent shoulder surgery during the offseason, leading to a season start on May 7, 21. Kelly went on COVID-IL on August 21, and later saw his season come to an end as he left Game 5 of the NLCS with tense biceps.
Facing a $12 million club option or a $4 million buyout, the Dodgers chose the buyout. Although Kelly suggested a mutual interest in a Dodgers reunion last month, he will join the White Sox bullpen instead. Kelly ranked seventh in the Dodgers bullpen in leverage in 2021. Of those ranked ahead of him (used in more crucial situations), Kenley Jansen remains a free agent and Corey Knebel signed with the Phillies. Blake Treinen, Alex Vesiaand Brusdar Graterol are leftovers, with Daniel Hudson joining as a free agent before the lockout. Tommy Kahnle is expected to pay dividends after signing a two-year contract in December 2020 less than five months after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Kelly told 570 LA Sports at the time that he would “definitely be ready for the start of the season” after his NLCS bicep injury. The White Sox, widely expected to trade Kimbrel, have so far only added a pair of right-handed relievers Around the same time tonight, the White Sox also bolstered their infield with the signing of Josh Harrison.
Photo courtesy of Sports Pictures USA Today