Dodgers Finally Make Joe Kelly Signing Official


The move was initially announced last week, but today the Los Angeles Dodgers finally made it official, announcing the signing of relief pitcher Joe Kelly to a three-year contract. However, the team still has yet to announce a corresponding move to create a roster spot. Dennis covered what moves might be made to add Kelly to the 40-man on Tuesday. Fans are hoping that the front office is still working to make trades to make space and bring a catcher or another pitcher to the team, and that is the delay for the announcement of the corresponding move.

Details of Kelly’s three-year contract include $3 million in 2019 with a $3 million signing bonus and $8.5 million in both 2020 and 2021.  He was also given a $12 million option or $4 million buyout in 2022, while being able to earn up to $2 million per year in incentives for games finished.

Kelly, 30, is 43-25 with a 3.87 ERA in 250 career major league games. 79 of those games were starts, spread over seven seasons with St. Louis and Boston. Dodger fans well remember Kelly as a starter when he plunked Hanley Ramirez in the first inning of the 2013 NLCS, breaking his rib and taking him out of the lineup for the rest of the series.

As a reliever, Kelly has posted a 3.29 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP, a .234 opponents’ batting average and 190 strikeouts in 194.0 innings in 171 games. In 21 career postseason relief appearances, Kelly has posted a 1.07 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, while limiting opposing hitters to a .189 batting average. In 2018, Kelly went 4-2 with a 4.39 ERA and two saves in 73 relief appearances with Boston. He was a key contributor for the Red Sox during their championship run after pitching in all five World Series games while not allowing a run and striking out 10 batters in 6.0 innings.

Dodger fans will be happy to overlook what he’s done against his new team as long as he pitches like he has in the 2018 postseason for the next three years. With the details of the contract now known, one could wonder if Kelly is the front office’s way of having an option if Jansen still has heart issues. Regardless, he will make a great addition to the bullpen, especially as a reliever with much postseason success.

Kelly was originally selected by St. Louis in the 3rd round of the 2009 MLB draft out of the University of California, Riverside, where he set the team’s career saves record (24). He attended Corona High School in Corona, California. Kelly will keep his number 56.

22 thoughts on “Dodgers Finally Make Joe Kelly Signing Official

  1. Rosenthal is saying on twitter that Wood, Kemp and Puig are going to the Reds for Bailey, a couple of prospects and maybe international bonus money. Clearing some payroll and it looks like they may sign Harper and trade for another pitcher. Although I don’t think Bailey would waive his no trade just to get released.

    1. Hey Bear, what happened to that slow week you had expected. You might wind up hating everything AF does, but you won’t be able to say he didn’t do anything.

      1. Well, occasionally I am dead wrong and this is one of those times. But Kemp, Puig, Wood and Farmer? For Bailey??? Prospects and some slot money. I do know one thing. If they do not sign Harper now, and get a catcher, fans are going to be pissed. They had better figure out a way to get Kluber because Bailey helps this rotation about as much as super glue can cure a leper.

      2. I read where Bailey will be released, but of course that isn’t official yet so could be just a vicious rumor. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, this may just be the beginning. AF likes to line up all his moves and then do everything in rapid succession. He’s probably a great chess player.

  2. Looks like it is official. Kemp, Puig and Wood to the Reds for Bailey and a couple of prospects. So there is your roster spot for Kelly.

  3. Nightengale says the prospects are pitcher Josiah Gray and infielder Jeter Downs. Anybody know anything about them?

  4. Kyle Farmer is also going to the Reds. I know this means they are signing Harper now that’s all but assured, but to give Puig away to save $10 million? Are we that cheap now?

  5. No one has said anything but I’m thinking one or both of those prospects we got will be on their way to Miami soon. Just a matter of what else we give them.

  6. I’m sorry to be the negative person here but we just gave up 3 players with legitimate trade value strictly for a salary dump and can’t even get that right by eating $35 million in the trade. This is a Tampa Bay Friedman move not what the LA Dodgers are supposed to do. I’m at a loss right now. Wood will probably headline that rotation and Puig will have a breakout year going into free agency. I’ll call it right now. Puig will put up better numbers this year than soon to be Dodger Bryce Harper and his 10 year $330 million contract.

    1. Try not to get too ecstatic Alex. Why don’t you wait to see what the rest of the moves are. Friedman likes to build one move on top of another so, although you may be even more pissed at the rest of his moves, you should probably wait to see what they all are and then give him one huge blast. 🙂

  7. I could defend this if he had gotten just something of value back. Excuse me if I’m not jumping over the moon for the Reds #7 and 20 prospects. If you think either of those guys could headline any trade for an impact player you are fooling yourself. They would be toss ins at best.

    1. It is a salary dump Alex. This is not a sound baseball trade. It was made to clear salary. Bailey will never see a Dodger uniform. He will be released as soon as the trade is official. If they do not sign Harper after this move, Dodger fans will riot. That is the only logical reason they have made this trade.

  8. Dodgers need players to win a World Series. Kemp and Wood have no playoff value and Puig could be a big distraction this year if he doesn’t get his way. This opens a window to get us players to make a difference in October. It’s a good move

    1. I agree Rich. I don’t, as Bear seems to think, feel that it’s just a salary dump. Management also realized that at some point you can just have too many guys playing the same position and you’re left with nobody being satisfied. Wood and Kemp definitely fit into that category and as far as Puig is concerned, I would like to have kept him but that may have been the only way the Reds make that trade. Along with the salary savings we got two pretty good prospects who could be included in trades. Someone was saying that Downs is already in our top 10.

      1. Jeff it has to be a salary dump. It is not a great baseball trade because they traded 3 established players for a guy who could not strike you out and 2 kids. They also dumped 7,000,000 bucks on the Reds and gave em Farmer just for kicks. This is to simply clear payroll so they can sign somebody. I am not saying it will be Harper alone, but it also clears some roster space. But, if after this trade Ol Andy does not do something special, the fans will revolt.

      2. I probably didn’t explain myself real well. Yes, it most certainly was a salary dump, in part. But they also removed 3 guys who weren’t happy being platooned, partially cleared a logjam in the outfield and on the pitching staff and picked up a couple of decent prospects. So I guess what I meant to say was that it wasn’t solely a salary dump. I totally agree that if this is all there is (which it won’t be) the Dodger fans will burn down Dodger Stadium. I think AF will draw a line in the sand for Harper and won’t go past it (years and dollars). He might actually prefer a right handed hitting outfielder (Pollock, Haniger, Stanton or someone else we haven’t even mentioned. It’s all part of a master plan that will be slowly (or quickly) unfolded before our very eyes.

      3. Scoop keeps telling me that we don’t know if DiPoto would even trade Haniger. I answer “everyone has a price”. Don’t know if you saw but the M’s traded for Domingo Santana today which makes it a little easier to move Haniger for the right package. We now have two more good prospects than we did yesterday. It would take a lot more than those two and I have no idea what the front office feels Haniger is worth (they might have no interest whatsoever), but if they are inclined to put him in the Dodger Stadium outfield, that task is somewhat easier than it was yesterday at this time.

      4. Well if I accomplished nothing else I got you to half ass agree with me! I agree about the platoon thing. But I never saw anything where Kemp complained or was unhappy at all. Even Puig went around with a smile on his face most of the time. Yeah, the outfield was crowded, But now, and if they sign Harper, it is way too lefty heavy. I also believe that Ol Andy has his line in the sand as to years and salary. One guy on twitter said they should sign Harper and trade him to the Yankees for Stanton. Which in a weird way actually makes some sense. But it is all moot if they do not get a starting catcher and some more pitching help. I believe either Urias or Ferguson can be just as effective if not better than Wood, who was obviously unhappy being pulled out off the rotation.

      5. I always say half an ass is better than no ass at all. Welcome to the pot stirrers club Bear. I don’t think you can trade a guy you sign until June so much easier to just have the Yanks send us Stanton and then sign Harper themselves. By the way, I absolutely would not be shocked to see that scenario play out. Stanton really wants to be here and although Harper would like to be here I’m thinking his first choice would be NY. That gives the Yanks their lefty hitter and gives us our righty hitter. Problem solved, except we then have Stanton for the next 100 years (unless he uses his opt out, and you can’t count on that).

  9. Yes, it’s a salary dump, but it had better also be a baseball move. We need to find that mix of players that can beat those 3 better teams in the AL. I think we need more better second half pitching, both in the rotation and in the pen. We scored enough runs last year to get to the Series but, we all know what happened there. We need more consistency late. We have dumped a lot of offense in Grandal, Puig, and Kemp, but a lot of that offense was first half accumulated. Same with Wood. We will need to replace AND improve on all that. How? Iontkno, but Friedman must have a plan. I think it’s Verdugo, Kluber and Realmuto. Will that be enough? Probably not. Kimbrel, Stanton or Harper? Not and stay under $206M. It’s going to get very interesting and soon. Stand by.

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