Did former Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly nearly walk away from Major League Baseball?

Kelly, who was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 2023 trade deadline, jumped from a lost cause to a World Series contender. However, with two rings already to Kelly’s name, the right-hander was inclined to call it a career had the Dodgers not fallen flat on their faces in the National League Division Series.

“I joke around with the team and the guys all the time where it’s like, well if we win the World Series, I’m definitely, like 100%, retiring,” Kelly told WEEI’s Rob Bradford on Audacy’s “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast. “I kind of wanted to go out on my own and be the only guy in the history of the game to retire that could still throw 101 (miles per hour). I thought that would’ve been kind of interesting.”

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Undergoing 12 big league seasons, with not a whole lot left to accomplish, Kelly is more focused on family than anything. The 35-year-old mentioned that he’s not interested in signing with teams that aren’t outside of the West Coast region, in order to remain close to his wife and kids.

Last season, Kelly tossed 39 1/3 innings of relief, recording a 4.12 ERA in the regular season plus a scoreless postseason appearance with the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLDS.

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With no sign of velocity dipping anytime soon, Kelly still has plenty to offer, especially for contending clubs in the hunt in 2024.

The Dodgers have a club option on Kelly’s contract for next season, therefore, he could hit free agency if Los Angeles declines this offseason.

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Featured image via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images