Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly was an entrusted member of a bullpen that won the World Series in October. He pitched six scoreless innings spread across all five games of the Fall Classic, and his dominance consistently provided fans with an opportune moment to exhale in an otherwise stressful series.
Yet Kelly’s contract expired at the end of the magical championship run, and the 30-year-old is now a free agent. Where he will sign remains a mystery amid baseball’s winter meetings.
At the outset of the offseason in November, Kelly said that, “hopefully I can be a Red Sox through the rest of my career.”
With the passage of almost a month, Kelly remains on the open market. In fact, interest has begun to heat up over acquiring the hard-throwing reliever. According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, half of the league pursuing Kelly.
Joe Kelly has interest from about 15 teams according to a major league source. Some teams are looking at him as a closer. Red Sox are still very much involved.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) December 10, 2018
And on Tuesday afternoon, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal indicated that Kelly could stay in Boston, even if closer Craig Kimbrel appears destined to leave.
While #RedSox have indicated they are all but out on Kimbrel, a reunion with Joe Kelly remains a possibility, sources say. Players on team lobbying for his return. No deal close, however.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2018
Kelly also spoke with WEEI’s Rob Bradford recently about his decision.
“I’m not going to panic and rush to make a decision,” said Kelly. “I’m just very comfortable where I’m at.”
The Dodgers, Mets, and White Sox are reportedly a few of the teams interested in Kelly.
Additionally, the Red Sox are also grappling with Kimbrel hitting free agency. In a possible contingency scenario for the departure of Kimbrel or Kelly or both, Boston has been in talks with Yankees reliever (and current free agent) David Robertson.