Dodgers bolster bullpen with Joe Kelly signing

LAS VEGAS — The Boston Red Sox perhaps don’t have quite the open bank vault everyone anticipated.

The Red Sox finally lost a free agent they coveted when Joe Kelly signed a three-year, $25 million free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a person directly involved with the contract told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because Kelly still needs to pass a physical.

Kelly, 30, who’s from Southern California, enhanced his value in the postseason when he appeared in all five World Series games against the Dodgers, pitching six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts. He yielded just one run in 11⅓ innings in the postseason.

Kelly will be the eighth-inning reliever All-Star closer Kenley Jansen so badly lobbied for all season, giving the Dodgers a powerful bullpen. He also is valuable insurance for Jansen, who battled irregular heart beat problems last season and struggled down the stretch.

The Red Sox, who had planned on bringing back Kelly, now have to find a replacement for him and perhaps closer Craig Kimbrel, who’s a free agent seeking a six-year contract.

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