The Dodgers are set to bolster their bullpen by reaching an agreement early Thursday to sign hard-throwing right-hander Joe Kelly to a three-year contract worth $25 million, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Kelly, 30, spent the last two-plus seasons as a reliever for the Boston Red Sox after beginning his career as a starter. He posted a 4.39 earned-run average in 73 appearances during the 2018 regular season, but allowed only one run in 11 1/3 innings in the playoffs as the Red Sox went on to defeat the Dodgers in five games in the World Series. Kelly also had a 2.73 ERA in 54 relief appearances in 2017.
Kelly has a history against the Dodgers in the postseason before 2018, most notably plunking Hanley Ramirez in the ribs during the 2013 National League Championship Series. Ramirez suffered a hairline fracture. Two years later, they were teammates with the Red Sox.
A Corona native, Kelly will add depth to the Dodgers’ bullpen as a bridge to closer Kenley Jansen alongside Pedro Baez. Bolstering the bullpen was a priority for the Dodgers, and they did it before leaving the winter meetings.