“I still feel like that’s where I’m gonna be for the rest of my career.” Joe Kelly’s recent comments have made it clear how he feels about Boston. Are the Red Sox going to grant him his wish of being with the team the remainder of his career? With Eduardo Nunez and Steve Pearce both locking themselves in with Boston for 2019, the money is starting to go on the books. Craig Kimbrel returning is seeming more unlikely by the day. So, going forward, the champs are going to need someone to hold down the back end of the bullpen. And I’m not saying Joe Kelly is the answer, but he’s definitely an admirable candidate.
Joe Kelly has firmly planted himself in Red Sox lore. From fighting Tyler Austin and the Yankees in April to pitching tough as nails in October, to dropping the puck at a Bruins game in November. Kelly has been endearing himself to the fans all season long, myself included. How can you not love this guy and the attitude he brings?
Admittedly, Kelly did struggle in the dog days of summer. Every time he came in the game, he was allowing inherited runners to score or giving up runs left, right and center. If he struggles like that in the ninth inning of games, in Boston, the seat will get hot real quick. So is it worth paying Kelly a good chunk of change to close out games? Personally, I think it’s a safe bet. He obviously won’t command the 4-5 years at 70+ million that Kimbrel likely will. This is huge for a Red Sox team who’s trying to make other moves.
Joe Kelly Has The Boston Mentality
He’s never been short of confidence. Having this persona, allows him to be a guy with the guts to get the job done in the tough moments. Closing out games in one of the biggest sports markets isn’t easy. It requires these aforementioned guts to get the job done. The light shines brighter than in almost any other city in America. Putting money in the wrong place for the man to fill the job could be costly.
Despite the temporary summer struggles, I’ll take the grit of Joe Kelly any day of the week. If he comes back it would almost certainly be as the closer. Many other teams in the league could use an upgrade at the position and likely could also pay more than Boston can. Selling Kelly on having the closer’s role would likely be a huge factor in pleasing Joe, and keeping him with the Red Sox for the foreseeable future.
There are other options on the table via trade and via free agency. If the Red Sox choose to spend their money in other ways, I could see Matt Barnes also taking over the reins. Whatever ends up happening, if Joe Kelly does in Boston it’ll be as the closer. After October, I think that should be a comfortable feeling.