Cleveland Guardians Free Agent Target #2: Joe Kelly, LAD
Cleveland has been notorious for adding veteran relievers to the bullpen. Whether it be Bryan Shaw and Blake Parker this year or Oliver Perez in the past, it’s a key piece to the pen that the front office values. After falling apart late in the season, Shaw should hopefully not be back, meaning a new veteran arm will be needed to fill the role.
For Joe Kelly, there’s a chance he could be available. He has a $12 million club option with the Dodgers next season, but given their insanely high payroll and Kelly’s slight regression to an ERA of 2.86 there’s a decent chance that option gets turned down.
Paying $8-12 million for a reliever doesn’t seem like a move Cleveland would make regardless of how much they would be willing to spend this offseason. But if Kelly would be willing to come down a bit on his price, he does fit what the team needs.
His ERA is respectable and his WHIP is below 1.000. Throw in 10.2 strikeouts per nine and he would compliment the current bullpen well while bringing a veteran presence. The barrier would just be settling on a price, which will most likely be the barrier in any free agent move Cleveland tries to make.