Red Sox Agree to One-Year Contract with RHP Joe Kelly
The Boston Red Sox and starting pitcher Joe Kelly avoid arbitration and agree to one year deal
In order to avoid arbitration, the Boston Red Sox have begun to work with eligible players to sign them to contracts. On Friday, the Sox settled another arbitration case, this time with right handed starting pitcher Joe Kelly. Even though MLBTradeRumors.com had predicted that Kelly would make roughly $3.2 million in 2016, the Red Sox were able to get him to agree to a one-year, $2.6 million contract for this upcoming year.
One reason Kelly’s salary for 2016 is probably less than originally predicted could be due to the fact that last season was statistically one of the worst of his career. From April to June, Kelly had a cumulative 5.56 ERA. By the end of June, Kelly had a 2-5 losing record. As a result of his poor performance throughout the first half of the season as well as his inability to have consistent command over his pitches, the Sox optioned him to Triple-A on June 25. Even though this might have been a disappointment for Kelly, he used his time in the Minors wisely and worked hard to improve his command.
When Kelly came back to Boston in late July, he was a completely different pitcher – dominant and in control of every pitch. During the month of August, Kelly racked up 6 wins, the most by a Red Sox pitcher in a single month since Pedro Martinez was part of the rotation, and continued on from there. Kelly won two more of his starts for a total of eight consecutive wins. Kelly was linked to Pedro once again during this time for this winning streak was the longest by a Red Sox pitcher since Martinez won nine straight back in 1999.
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Kelly’s season was ultimately cut short when he landed on the disabled list with shoulder tightness on September 15. Despite the injury, Kelly is expected to be part of the Red Sox 2016 starting rotation alongside David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Thankfully, Kelly is young with only three years of MLB experience under his belt. If he can re-establish the dominance he showed in August of 2015, Kelly could be a superb starter.