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Dodgers 2022 Free Agents: Joe Kelly

This is a pretty straightforward overview because the chance the Dodgers retain relief pitcher Joe Kelly after the 2021 season is astronomically low. The only sort of deal that I could see the Dodgers offering Kelly is one that would be a significant downgrade in terms of monetary value.

While Kelly's beloved amongst his teammates and Dodger fans, he hasn't provided much on-field value during his tenure with the Dodgers. Signed by the team to a 3 year 25 million dollar deal after he dominated them in the 2018 World Series as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Kelly has had a somewhat unspectacular career sprinkled with reigns of dominance as a reliever, the most notable of which was during the 2018 postseason.

After a horrendous start to his time in LA through the first half of the 2019 season, Kelly was dominant down the stretch in 2019 until he got hurt in September with an undisclosed injury. He pitched in the 2019 postseason, however, notably giving up the grand slam to Howie Kendrick in Game 5 of the NLDS, although there were other factors to blame for that loss.

Regardless, Kelly didn't contribute much on-field value to the team's World Series Championship in 2020. After his incident with Houston in the beginning of the season, he got injured and missed more than half of the 2020 season. While he came back and was solid, getting some important outs in the playoffs, Kelly struggled with control and was one of the least effective and trusted pitchers in the bullpen.

Unless Kelly has an incredible season in 2021, it's hard to see the Dodgers keeping him after his contract expires at the end of the season. Such is less of a knock on Kelly, who's in his 30s, and more of an acknowledgment of the young pitching talent and depths that the Dodgers organization has amassed.

Joe Kelly, an odd signing by Andrew Friedman, usually wary of aging relief pitchers on multi-year contracts, is likely entering his last season as a Dodger. While I'm not expecting much from him this season, especially considering he's missed all of 2021 Spring Training with ANOTHER undisclosed, vague injury, I think that his being with the team hasn't hurt them much (Dodgers were going to lose Game 5 anyways) and has impacted the clubhouse positively.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

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