The signing of Ketel Marte locked up an important position player for the future. But in a somewhat surprising - but not unwelcome - move, the Diamondbacks announced this morning that they have come to terms on a two-year extension with starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, that also includes a club option for the 2025 season. Per Nick Piecoro, here’s what Kelly’s contract looks like :
- $1 million signing bonus
- 2022: $5.25 million
- 2023: $8 million
- 2024: $8 million
- 2025: $7 million team option, $1 million buyout
Kelly has been one of the most effective free-agent signings in the Mike Hazen era. Plucked out of the Korean baseball league back to the majors, he has posted a 4.27 ERA (ERA+ 102) over three seasons, including the pandemic-shorted 2020 campaign. He has cost only $9.25 million in total, but been worth 4.6 bWAR, which is excellent value for money. There was some concern after his 2020 season was ended with an issue that resulted in thoracic outlet surgery. But Kelly came back strong last year, making more starts and throwing more innings for Arizona than anyone else on the roster.
He is aged 33, so will be almost 36 by the time the guaranteed years end, but it doesn’t feel like there has been a drop-off in Kelly’s stuff so far. This would appear to solidify one spot in the team’s rotation, with Kelly joining Madison Bumgarner as being contracted through at least the end of 2024. Zac Gallen is under team control through the end of 2025, and I guess we’ll see what else shows up in terms of rotation spots.