Red Sox fan favorite and World Series hero, Joe Kelly, has reportedly agreed a deal which will see him sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Wednesday night saw a deal finalized sending Boston Red Sox cult hero Joe Kelly to Los Angeles to join the team that he and his former team emphatically beat in last season’s Fall Classic.
A number of fans would’ve seen the news broken by NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich, who took to Twitter to confirm the 3-year, $25 million deal.
It comes as disgruntling news to Red Sox Nation, as the right-handed reliever won over the hearts of the Fenway faithful for his aggressive outings and fiery attitude, both of which he displayed fully throughout this tremendous season.
After his brawl with the rival New York Yankees back in April and his signature walks from the mound to the dugout, following fierce pitching performances, Kelly made his mark on this Red Sox team and its supporters. When Sox fans think about all the pinnacles of 2019, some of Kelly’s finest moments will be amongst them.
However disappointed Sox fans may be, this news doesn’t come as a huge surprise. With Boston looking to manage their payroll for other free agent signings, and most importantly make sure they have enough room to pay the likes of Mookie Betts, bringing Kelly back to Fenway was always going to be a long shot. Early on it was evident that the 2019 World Series champion would command a 3-year contract in the region of $25-30m, and this is how it turned out.
Sox fans will be the first to note their sadness over the loss of a key reliever and clubhouse guy, but they’ll also be the first to show their gratitude towards Kelly for being the figure that he has been, specifically this season, and his outings which played a large role in Boston’s journey to their ninth world championship.
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Kelly has endured plenty of ups and down in the majors. Over his five years in Boston, he’s been both critiqued and applauded on many occasions. None so other than in 2019. However, while there were days where it didn’t all go right for Kelly, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. The reliever showed his worth plenty of times during the regular season and this translated to the time where performance was needed the most.
Kelly’s 0.79 ERA in the postseason reflects how October was to him. After a year which saw this bullpen doubted by many critics, Kelly played a huge role in pulling the staff together for the biggest stages of the season. Appearing in nine postseason games, Kelly was able to restrict his opponents to a mere two runs, one earned off of eight hits, over the course of 11.1 innings pitched. Allowing just a .186 batting average off of his pitches in the postseason, Kelly was pivotal in helping the Sox achieve the ultimate goal after an ultimate season.
For Sox fans, the ‘Joe Kelly Fight Club’ will long live on and so will Kelly himself. As he joins a Dodger team looking to bounce back, again, it signifies a new beginning for the veteran pitcher. Boston will sure miss having him around, but, sometimes you have to deal with things like this in the game of baseball. Every Sox fan will wish Kelly the best of luck, and who knows, we could see him pitching at Fenway again some day.