Joe Kelly is the clown prince of the bullpen. Throughout his peripatetic career, Kelly has wormed his way into the hearts of baseball fans everywhere by being a shameless, hilarious troll—and also by making hilarious faces at Carlos Correa and the rest of the Houston Astros. Besides his antics, Kelly has also been a fine pitcher for over a decade and has won two World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020. Currently, he's plying his trade on the ghost ship that is the Chicago White Sox; he's not a star and has never been a star, but he throws reasonably hard and is reasonably hard to hit. As such, Kelly is purportedly a potential trade deadline target for contenders around the league hoping to pounce on the White Sox impending fire sale.
“Keep an eye on White Sox veteran reliever Joe Kelly,” wrote USA Today MLB insider Bob Nightengale. “He is pitching the best he has in years, and teams could have him for two pennant aces considering he has a club option in 2024 for $9.5 million or a $1 million buyout.”
As far as middle relievers go, you could certainly do worse than Joe Kelly. While Kelly hasn't been great during his season and a quarter with the White Sox, he's quietly been pitching much better than his unremarkable stats this year would suggest. Although Kelly's 4.60 ERA isn't great, he's been the victim of bad batted ball luck; his 2.46 FIP and .894 WHIP are both the best marks of his career and paint the picture of an elite reliever.