Reports: Red Sox Reliever Joe Kelly Agrees to Deal with Dodgers

December 13, 2018 GMT

LAS VEGAS - Just as the lights were about to go out on the 2018 Winter Meetings, two of the better relief pitchers agreed to late-night contracts.

Joe Kelly, a postseason hero for the Red Sox after an up-and-down regular season, reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth around $25 million, according to Yahoo Sports. The deal is pending a physical.

And Jeurys Familia agreed to a three-year deal worth $30 million to return to the New York Mets, Yahoo reported.

Both pitchers were among the top-tier group in a very deep free agent class of relievers this winter.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wondered Wednesday when the relief market was going to get moving.

“I keep thinking it’s going to, but nothing seems to happen, so I don’t really know,” Dombrowski said earlier in the day. “It’s gotta happen at some point. I mean we’re less than two weeks away from Christmas.”

Kelly will be going home to Southern California to join the Dodgers, a team that could’ve used some extra bullpen help in the World Series against the Red Sox. Kelly will likely serve as a set-up man to Kenley Jansen, providing a potentially-dominant one-two punch in the late innings.

It was just an OK regular season from Kelly in 2018, with two strong months followed by an awful middle and end of the season. He had a 6.13 ERA while batters had an .813 OPS off him from June 1 on.

It wasn’t until the postseason that Kelly found his groove, as he tossed 11- innings allowing just one earned run and most notably didn’t walk anybody.

While he’s always thrown in the high-90s, walks had plagued him throughout his career. With only limited success as a starter, a move to the bullpen suited him well as he posted a 2.69 ERA in 2017.

The Red Sox are still looking to replace Kelly and Craig Kimbrel in the back-end of the ’pen, where they’re currently left with just Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier among their high-leverage relievers from 2018.

Dombrowski seemed to rule out a reunion with Kimbrel this week when he said the club wasn’t looking to spend a lot of money on a closer. The Athletic reported Wednesday that Kimbrel was asking for six years and $100 million this offseason.

Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, David Robertson, Adam Ottavino and Kelvin Herrera are among the relievers still available in free agency.