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Dodgers News: Joe Kelly Reportedly Will Not Be Ready for the Start of Next Season



The Dodgers will likely be losing a couple of their guys to free agency this year. With so many contracts expiring at one time, Los Angeles is almost certain to be missing out on a few key names that have been part of the team for a while.

One of those guys could be Joe Kelly. The Dodgers signed the hard-throwing reliever after the 2018 season to a three-year, $27 million contract. That deal also included an option for a fourth year that would be worth $12 million. 

Given the rollercoaster nature of Kelly’s tenure in Los Angeles, it seems very unlikely that the Dodgers would pick up that option. But according to the LA Times’ Jorge Castillo, Kelly might not even be ready to go at the start of the 2022 season. 

Dodgers Related: LA Loses 2 Minor League Hitting Coaches

Kelly injured his biceps in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Braves. He had to exit that game the first inning of a bullpen day for Dave Roberts. According to Castillo, that biceps strain is enough for him to not be ready for the start of next year. 

Castillo also points out that the Dodgers could pay his $4 million buyout and then work out a cheaper contract for Kelly. Given his uncertain status for the 2022 season, that could make the most sense for Los Angeles. 

Kelly appeared in 48 games for the Dodgers in 2021, pitching to a 2.86 ERA and striking out 50 over 44 innings. The control issues that plagued him in his injury-riddled 2020 season appeared to have been resolved and some of his velocity also came back. 

If they can get him at a cheaper price, it would be a great investment into a fan favorite. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. I would make every attempt at making a fair $ contract offer. If we didn’t learn anything else from 2021, it’s absolutely imperative to have a high quality pen!

    • Jr, granted he is rather more a luxury than a necessity. Only makes sense if the $ would be team friendly for sure. If I had to say, he more than likely ends up elsewhere.

      • Granted, we know Dodgers will decline the option and yes he may end up elsewhere but with this bicep issue and perhaps not be ready at the start of 2022, I can’t see too many teams shelling out $ 12 million a year for him.

        • What can the market be for an aging reliever with a questionable arm? Not too high I’m thinking. Although he he’s healthy I still think he can get it done.

          Zack Greinke is 38 and still fairly effective.

          • Zack Greinke, former Dodger and 2009 Cy Young winner.

            Now 38 and WS game 4 starter for the Cheaters:

            Goes 4 shutout innings vs the soon to be WS champs.

            Batted 8th! Bet that wasn’t possible HOF manager Dusty Baker’s choice (Kirk). That decision came from his “good buddy.”

            Interesting side note….he may become the last Pitcher to ever get a hit in MLB let alone in a WS.

            If the DH comes to the NL next year, no more pitchers bat, unless Max “Babe” Fried makes a pinch hitting appearance! Guy batted .273 in 2021…maybe the Dodgers should sign him as a bench player lol. 😉

        • Brook
          4 million buyout for Kelly. If the Dodgers keep Kelly could they add one million to the buyout and make it 5 million for next year

          This is a question ?
          Thank you

          • Ideally I’d like to see Kelly back for a couple of reasons:

            When healthy he can clearly still get it done.

            I think he’s a gamer. Good team chemistry guy, kinda like Kike was. Intangibles are important too!

  2. Who cares. The way this team is run will never result in a dynasty. The way 2020 was set up was perfect for this team. Lots of rest over the year and not nearly enough games for Friedman’s analytics to run the pitchers into the ground although he tried his best. A guy like Julio was able to pitch effectively out of the pen because of it, A guy like Gonzalez did well because he wasn’t over exposed in a full season, boy did he turn out to be a hack in 2021, Graterol same story, Kershaw? Was basically pitching in June last October. The no travel in the NLCS.. even with all that we still needed that one last break from genius Kevin Cash in game 6. We will see SD and SF win more titles than we do going forward. The window for a dynasty has closed and we got even worse than the 90’s Braves. Shameful

    • GegB, the one thing I must be realistic about is that no team is guaranteed to reach the PS every single year. It’s not necessarily ideal to have this many players from the active roster all to become free agents at the same time.

      • Paul, excellent point. Kinda poor planning? Or simply happenstance? IDK the answer on that. Either way, as you say, clearly not ideal.

  3. Can’t say that management caused May’s early season-ending injury. Bauer is another unfortunate major loss and Kershaw has perhaps reached his mileage limit to avoid injuries. Gonzalez failed but they found other young talent and ended up with the best relief staff in the MLB. Problem was a manic chase of the Giants and only 3 starters left by season’s end.

    Bottom line, no NL team has repeated since 1976. In my view, 162 games is way too long to avoid burnouts, unless you are in a weak division like Atlanta, who despite winning only 88 games in the regular season are one game from winning it all.

    • Pmcahud, nicely done!

      I’ve stated my position if I had the power…

      120 regular season and expanded play-offs! Win win if you ask me.

  4. kelly seemed at his best in the playoffs under pressure. I’d give him an incentive laced deal, based on appearances. Few teams have a guy who inherits runners 30 times and allows 1 run.

  5. He threw 10 innings last year and 44 this year now he’s injured again. 10 innings in the post season over three seasons. Dominant stuff when he is healthy but those numbers hardly justify the money by a long shot.

  6. Don’t know if anyone recalls this…prior to the WS I had made mention that the Braves appeared to be “on a mission.”

    I believe they are playing beyond their capabilities in honor of their franchise legend…

    Hank “The Hammer” Aaron who passed away in January of this year. His number 44 is etched into the centerfield grass at Truist Park.

    Coming together to reach a shared goal can be a galvanizing thing. Something to consider.

  7. Really Joe, I guess that is why uninspired and worse record Braves BEAT us, and are now in the WS. LOL

  8. Joe Prima Donna can go and retire from the easy money that he has raked it. Goodbye Joe. You killed the Dodgers when you were a Card but that was ages ago. Let the Giants take him too. The Dodgers had their big chance to take it this year and the old guys just sputtered out. Should we name them DF4L? Well there was JT, and J Kelly, and Money Max dead arm, and well…the young guys like Trealess did nothing when it counted, ….should they pay him $300K like Betts too? And Seager forgot what he had done last year….Who else? Well Pollack didn’t seem good enough for Roberts to play him as he preferred no experience Lux…that worked out great….who else? Well Uncle Al did everything but make Roberts happy,….When I say clean house…that means the old guys go and enjoy their life with all that money. Hasta la Vista.

  9. I don’t know that I agree with all the doom and gloom when it comes to our roster. We are still very solid at all positions. With Muncy at first, Lux at second, Turner at SS, (with Seager leaving), Turner at 3rd, Bellinger in center, (I believe his swing is fixable, he just needs to shorten it up, his hands are quick), Mookie in right, and here is the key….Taylor in right IF he can learn to keep calm and quiet in his stance AND hitting approach…(he is way to jittery at the plate causing his swing to be erractic through the strike zone)….that is a line up that is better than most MLB teams, Although the line-up is suspect defensively, statistically we make up for it with hitting prowess. I also would add I am not sold on Will Smith at catcher. Great bat…terrible fundamentals as catcher. He is rarely in position for throws to the plate, and distracting for a pitcher behind the plate. Left field is a problem…Pollock is still a good player, just not a everyday player. (who is? the way our line-up is run) We have a lot of good players in the minors, we always seem to have hidden gems, but, we can address left field through free agency. Our bench was not too good, but again, we can fix that through acquired serviceable veterans. We have to let Albert go…look, he’s a legend, no one doubts that, but he’s out of shape, slower than molasses and hurts us on the base paths…all that for a few home runs and he can’t hit righties. IF we get him at a bargain price, I can see keep him for magical moments, but…he deserves batter than that, and needs a DH role. Some of our youngsters should not have been thrust into the roles they had this year…they weren’t ready and showed no signs they were, BUT….they did show promise. I am still unsure of Beatty, he doesn’t look confident at the plate, and his swing is terrible….I do like Souza jr., he just needs at bats….he looks like he wants to hit and is fearless….Same thing with McKinney, although his hands look slow…but he’s got a real solid even swing….that’s a recipe for good at bats. The bench can be filled out either through free agent veterans and/or minor leaguers…you add that to our stellar pitching staff and were in great shape. I might add, I think Knebel is still a good pitcher…he was coming off a injury with very little time to be in pitching shape. Not a fan of Gonsolin, he puts a lot of balls in play and he’s erratic…hitters love to hit off him…no fast ball movement, basically a 2 pitch guy. I still like Jansen…although, he’d be a better set up man and his price would have to come way down. Scherzer is still….Scherzer. I think Bauer should be let back….ok, he’s got kinky sexual inclinations…let he without sin throw the first pitch….and its really none of our business, he didn’t commit any crimes. Sadly, re-siging Kershaw would be a big mistake…he’s just not worth star money anymore and injury prone. The rest of the staff, minus David Price, is 2nd to none and Treinen would make a great closer !! We could use a few more arms sure, but that’s not major problem. The 2 biggest issues are again Taylor and Smith. I hate to be hard on Smith, we definitely need his bat…but he is the worst catcher we have had in a LOT of years. That he is allowed to catch like this tells me we need a new position coach….I mean really…HE’S THAT BAD fundamentally. Taylor strikes out way way too much, but IF he’s open to changing his batting approach, he would be solid hitter. Of course none of this matters , if Dave Roberts is still manager…HE’S THAT BAD !!!

    • Wow, someone else besides me sees Opie for what he really is…a terrible defensive Catcher! I’m shocked. CT3 would make a terrific everyday LFer IMO.

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