D-backs retain right-hander Kelly for '22

Club exercises contract option on pitcher, declines on Calhoun, Clippard

November 5th, 2021

PHOENIX -- The D-backs picked up the 2022 contract option on right-hander and declined their options on outfielder and right-hander .

Here's a look at each decision:

Merrill Kelly
The team picked up a $5.25 million club option after Kelly again was one of their most consistent and reliable starting pitchers.

Kelly, 33, signed a two-year $5.5 million deal with a pair of club options before the 2019 season after spending four seasons in South Korea. The D-backs picked up his $4.25 million option last year, and it was a no-brainer that they would exercise this year's option, as well.

"He's been very steady for us, and I think he's still learning and improving," D-backs GM Mike Hazen said. "I think there's still a big future for him, and we're happy we're going to have him next year."

Kole Calhoun
The club option for 2022 was for $9 million, but instead the D-backs will pay him a $2 million buyout.

The 34-year-old Calhoun signed a two-year, $16 million contract before the 2020 season. He posted a slash line of .226/.338/.526 and had an OPS+ of 130 during the pandemic-shortened season. He appeared in 54 of the team's 60 games that year.

Last season, though, it was a different story. Leg injuries cost the left-handed hitter significant time, and Calhoun was able to appear in just 51 games while slashing .235/.297/.373.

"We're pretty heavy left-handed hitting in the outfield, both in the upper levels, Triple-A and also on our Major League team," Hazen said. "So we just felt like at this point in time -- we don't know what's going to happen in the future -- but at this point in time, we're just very heavily left-handed across our team."

Tyler Clippard
A mutual option for 2022 was for $3.5 million. Clippard instead will receive a $500,000 buyout.

Clippard, 36, was signed just after Spring Training started last year to a one-year, $2.25 million deal, with the D-backs banking on the fact he had been extremely reliable throughout his first 14 years in the big leagues.

However, Clippard sprained his right shoulder capsule in Spring Training, causing him to miss more than half of the season. He ended up making 26 appearances and posting a 3.20 ERA.

Rebuilding the bullpen is a top priority for the D-backs this offseason, but Hazen and his staff want to wait and see how the market for relievers shapes up before committing to anyone right now.

"Given where we're at in the bullpen, I think we're just going to explore what else is out there," Hazen said. "I think the challenge with some of these options is having to make a decision on the rest of your offseason today. And we just weren't ready to do that right now."