I present basically day old news with a heavy heart; Joe Kelly is going to Hollywood.
Sad to see him go, but it's the perfect spot for a guy with personality and flare like Jimmy B.
Hey, Ryan....fuck you!
Oh how things have changed. I for one am really bummed to see Joe Kelly go.
Any realist Red Sox fan sadly knew they weren't gonna be able to keep everybody together. Even the rich have their limits. After bringing back Nathan Eovaldi for 4 years 69ish million; the odds of Jim Buchanan staying in Boston seemed improbable. I guess the Red Sox weren't comfortable with the kinda of length (that's what she said) or money the Dodgers were willing to give? Kelly signed a 3 year 25 million dollar contract with L.A.
I'll always love him for his off the field antics and persona, but first let's talk actual baseball.
The former St. Louis Cardinal starter came to the Sox in July of 2014 in a deal that sent Joe and Allen Craig into (at the time) 4 Yawkey Way in exchange for 2013 hero John Lackey. Allen Craig went bad quicker than an avocado in a warm, wet environment. He was essentially worthless over his brief stint in Boston. John Lackey had a solid year and a half with the Cards before filling out the back of the rotation for Cubs late in his career; playing a significant role with the 2016 curse-breaking Cubs. I think with the trade officially hitting it's natural end, as no players remaining on any team you can safely say the Red Sox won that trade. Shipping off one World Series hero for another.
After being exclusively used as a starter in 2014 and 2015 Kelly moved into the pen in 2016. Although his important pitching stats weren't that great in 2016 he went 4-0, and won 15 straight decisions from 2015-2017. Just a weird Joe Kelly stat. Real stats: 5.18 era 40 IP over 20 (6 starts) appearances in '16. Not good.
2017 was when things started to click for Joe.
A guy who always had great velocity; but seemed to lack that special "stuff" aka movement. Kelly was throwing batting practice... just at 99 mph. It finally came together in his best overall season with the club. 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA over 58.0 innings made in 54 appearances. 1.193 whip. 164 ERA+ (whatever the fuck that means?) 50 strikeouts and only 27 walks. In the a quick playoff exit Joe Kelly picked up the Red Sox lone postseason win in 2017 going 1.1 scoreless in game 3.
2018 was a roller coaster for Joe. After a nightmare Opening Day he went on a hot streak. There was a streak where his era was like 0.37 for a month. In May he pitched 14 .1 innings allowing only 5 hits and ERA of 0.63 won 3 games
That came off the heals of cementing his spot in Red Sox lore in an April fight against the Yankees.
Absolute stud. L.A. cool guy like you read about. In hindsight the writing was on the wall, but I'm so glad we got to have you, Joe.
When he watched games from the bleachers during his suspension after the fight is when Joe Kelly won the heart of any Red Sox fan actually paying attention at the time.
And the Joe Kelly Fight Club was officially a thing.
2018 was for sure a bumpy ride for Joe. Right when it seemed like the Red Sox found their 8th inning guy, he puts together back to back months with an over 8.00 ERA, SHEESH! After a solid August, like a a shitty transition, he started slipping again.
But, like the lovable "those guys" of championships past, your Derek Lowe, Mark Bellhorn, Jonny Gomes (not IMO) Kelly stepped up when it mattered most; in October.
Joe struck out the side in the 8th inning of a World Series clinching game in his final appearance as a Red Sox.
Joe saved his absolute best for the 2018 postseason:
0.79 ERA over 11.1 innings. 13 strikeouts, and two big wins.
In a way it's almost a good thing. Our final memories of Joe Kelly will be him locking down the late innings for the 108 win Boston Red Sox en route to a World Series title. In October Joe Kelly had the best month of his entire life. His entire tenure was consistently inconsistent. It ended perfectly with literally the highest of highs, which we know Joe Kelly usually was ;) Now if he's going to turn into some elite reliever obviously I'm going to be even more upset, but from a baseball standpoint this might have not been the worst move. I understand not wanting to commit to a guy with the highs and lows of Joe Kelly. He's forever a champion and a major reason why the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in the World Series. We saw with Ryan Madson how important relieve pitching can be.
Goodbye, and best of luck (but not too much, as to make Sox look awful) to Joe Kelly.