Acquired in the trade that also brought in Lynn, Joe Kelly's return to the Dodgers was highly anticipated by the fanbase. Despite his struggles in the playoffs in the past, Kelly became one of the biggest fan favorites during his first tenure with the Dodgers, and that buzz continued during his second tenure with the team.
After struggling with the Chicago White Sox to start the season, Kelly returned to Los Angeles and pitched the best he had since leaving the Dodgers. The sample size was very small, but Kelly sported a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 IP with the Dodgers. He struck out 19 batters and walked six.
Kelly was one of the several relievers who helped pick up the pieces for a broken starting rotation in the NLDS. The hard-throwing right-hander threw 1.2 innings in the NLDS, allowing two hits and striking out three without allowing a run.
Like Lynn, Kelly has a club option for the 2024 season and the Dodgers are going to have to think long and hard about it. The club option would pay him $9.5 million next season, which is not a small lump of cash for what is essentially a popular middle reliever.
There is no such thing as having too much pitching depth, especially in the bullpen. However, with several young arms ready to make a difference, it's hard to totally blame the Dodgers if they don't want to pay $9.5 million for Kelly.