Beloved Dodgers reliever/pouter Joe Kelly just wanted to go out on top after finding his way back to Los Angeles at the 2023 MLB trade deadline. Is that so wrong?!
Unfortunately, Kelly and the Dodgers weren't able to deliver the Hollywood sendoff of his dreams, one of seemingly trillions of reasons why it was a massive bummer that the team was upset (swiftly) by the 84-win Arizona Diamondbacks.
As Kelly told his frequent collaborator Rob Bradford this week on WEEI's "Baseball Isn't Boring" podcast, the right-hander has continued to joke with his Dodgers teammates about walking away from the game the second he secures another ring. Bouncing at the peak of his powers seems to be a notably quirky notch that Kelly would like to have on his ledger. It's not entirely shocking that he'd like to go out throwing 101 MPH, as he told Bradford, just to prove he can still do it and have his own unique place in history.
Fairytale aside, that's not happening this October, and Kelly might be forced to head back to the drawing board this offseason.
Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly would've retired a 2023 World Series champion
Not everybody gets to pick their sendoff. And, besides, it's not Kelly's fault the Dodgers' season ended so soon. Blame the man who came over with him from Chicago, Lance Lynn.
When Kelly arrived in LA after this year's deadline, he wasn't exactly at the peak of his powers, either. He hit the IL shortly thereafter, something the Dodgers might've had an inkling would happen once they imported him. His limited time in a Dodger uniform this season resulted in 10.1 very good innings (19 Ks, two earned runs).
Unfortunately, after an injury-addled year, his 2024 team option calls for a slight raise from $9 million up to $9.5 million. Kelly would probably love for that to be seamlessly picked up, followed by the first full-season Dodgers championship campaign since 1988.
That might not be in the cards, though. Instead, could we interest you in a one-year deal in St. Louis and an outside shot at the Central?