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Reports: Joe Kelly signs two-year contract with White Sox

Joe Kelly’s unforgettable tenure with LA comes to an end

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After three years in the Dodgers bullpen, Joe Kelly has moved on as a free agent, agreeing to terms with the Chicago White Sox.

Kelly completed a three-year, $25.5 million contract with the Dodgers in 2021. That total guarantee included a $4 million buyout of his $12 million club option for 2022, which was declined by the team on November 6.

The 33-year-old right-hander had a 2.86 ERA and 3.08 FIP in 48 games for the Dodgers in 2021, with 50 strikeouts and 15 walks in 44 innings. Kelly’s strikeout rate (27.5 percent) was a career best, and his walk rate (8.2 percent) was his lowest since 2012.

Kelly pitched in seven of the Dodgers’ first 11 playoff games, but suffered a right biceps strain in Game 5 of the NLCS, ending his 2021 season a few days early. He had shoulder surgery last offseason, which delayed the start of his 2021 season until May.

Kelly has been effective against both sides the last few years. Since the beginning of 2020, left-handed batters are hitting just .193/.255/.307 against him, and .178/.294/.280 by righties.

In 10 major league seasons with the Cardinals, Red Sox, and Dodgers, Kelly has a 3.83 ERA, 3.94 FIP, and 107 ERA+ with 619 strikeouts and 298 walks in 730⅔ innings. He switched to relief full time in 2016 with Boston, and has better career numbers out of the bullpen, relative to starting.

Joe Kelly career splits

Pitching role IP HR rate BB rate K rate ERA FIP WHIP wOBA against
Pitching role IP HR rate BB rate K rate ERA FIP WHIP wOBA against
Starting 432⅓ 2.17% 9.4% 16.4% 4.16 4.27 1.439 .327
Relief 298⅓ 1.82% 9.6% 24.5% 3.35 3.47 1.250 .284
Sources: FanGraphs and Baseball Reference

Kelly turns 34 in June.