3 free-agent relievers for the Chicago White Sox to consider
Joe Kelly coming to the Chicago White Sox would be a great move.
The 2021 ALDS proved that the Houston Astros are the White Sox biggest roadblock to reaching the World Series. If the White Sox want a notorious Astros hater coming out of their bullpen in October, then Joe Kelly is the man for the job.
Kelly became an instant fan favorite when he caused a bench-clearing scuffle after throwing at Alex Bregman, then mocking Carlos Correa after a strikeout. This was a year after the Dodgers lost to the Astros in the World Series and it was revealed that they had been stealing signs.
Kelly is the perfect character for the White Sox clubhouse as well. He sports a mullet and wild mustache which would add another wild hairstyle to a bullpen that already features the “ponytail gang.”
He traded a jersey for a mariachi jacket being worn by a trumpet player performer at Dodger Stadium. He then wore the mariachi jacket to the White House. Him paired with Liam Hendriks would be a duo of personalities too good to pass up.
His results on the mound are just as good. Joe Kelly is coming off his best season in a Dodger uniform. After undergoing shoulder surgery to remove a cyst, he dominated when he returned to the lineup in May. Kelly posted a 2.86 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP, which is a new career-best. These numbers came in one of the best divisions in the National League, which featured a 100 win San Francisco Giants team and a menacing San Diego Padres lineup.
Even more promising is that Kelly actually threw harder post-surgery than he did heading into the offseason. However, it was the changeup that was the key to his success. Kelly threw his changeup 115 times, the most since he joined the Dodgers in 2019.
This uptick in offspeed pitches helped set up his fastball and make it even more effective. The results speak for themselves. Kelly struck out 27.5 percent of batters he faced. He picked up a pair of saves and had 13 holds.
His overall solid body of work as a reliever is consistent. Kelly has a career ERA of 3.83 throughout 10 Major League seasons. He is also ripe with playoff experience as evidenced by his two World Series rings.
In 40 postseason games, Kelly has a respectable 3.55 ERA. In the 2018 World Series, he went 1-0 and had a perfect 0.00 ERA for the Boston Red Sox. The 33-year old could be just what the bullpen is missing.