By Andrew Celani, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – Nowhere near playoff contention, the Red Sox were very busy last week at the trade deadline selling off pieces.

Their biggest chip sold, ace left-hander Jon Lester, brought back power-hitting outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to Boston, the Cuban-born slugger with a laser, rocket arm.

Red Sox fans also said goodbye to John Lackey, and in return received Cardinals first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig as well as Joe Kelly, who made his Sox debut Wednesday night against his former team.

Kelly gave up a run in the first inning and looked dead-to-rights in the second frame with the Cardinals threatening. He battled back, forced a double play and would leave the inning unscathed, showing the type of grit from athletes that we love to see in Boston.

Kelly had a sub-3.00 ERA in 2013, and at just 26 years old has a promising career ahead of him. There’s a lot to like from Kelly on the mound, like his mid-90s fastball and devastating sinker — but there’s also plenty to like about him off the field too.

Here’s 12 Reasons To Love Joe Kelly:

12. He’s Not John Lackey

John Lackey (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

John Lackey (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

John Lackey was instrumental in helping the Red Sox win their third World Series in a decade in 2013 — but let’s face it, he was kind of a dink. He routinely showed up his fielders for poor defensive plays, talked like Barney Gumble, and rarely held himself accountable to the media after bad outings. Smell ya later.

11. He’s Quite The Prankster

Joe Kelly once famously dressed up as an old man, a “longstanding member of the Cardinals organization,” and interviewed rapper Nelly inside the dugout. Classic.

Kelly also knows how to keep it light with his teammates:

Joe Kelly grabbing...umm...the attention of his teammate. (Photo via @JosephKellyJr)

Joe Kelly grabbing…umm…the attention of his teammate. (Photo via @JosephKellyJr)

10. He’s Fashionable

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Hair? Fabulous!

Glasses? Stylish.

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

9. Loved By His Fans & Teammates

Rarely do you see a player get this kind of welcome back to his former team — even in St. Louis, aka Pleasantville, USA. For a player to spend 2.5 years in your organization at the Major League level to get this kind of ovation, you have to be a certain kind of special. Joe Kelly seems to fit that bill.

Teammate Shelby Miller, whom Kelly opposed on the mound Wednesday night, served as the best man at Kelly’s wedding and vice versa. Kelly is the type of guy to build bonds with both the fans and his colleagues.

8. He’s Got Your Prototypical Boston Name

For the same reason Bruins fans were drooling over the idea of getting Bobby Ryan, “Joe Kelly” has that Irish sounding, proud-to-be-from-Boston name, and seems like the type of guy you can crush beers with at the bar.

7. He Likes To Cuddle

Who doesn’t AM I RIGHT?

6. Genuinely Loves The Game Of Baseball

One day after being traded to Boston, Kelly was front-and-center at Fenway Park attending the game — as a fan. Also, he seems genuinely excited to play in Boston, going from one great baseball town to another.

5. He’s Not John Lackey

John Lackey #41, formerly of the Boston Red Sox. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

John Lackey #41, formerly of the Boston Red Sox. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Did I mention he’s not John Lackey?

4. He’s Got Humility, And Knows How to Make Fun Of Himself

A virtuous quality, indeed.

3. He Can Dance

Check out those sweet moves!

He can even do the worm:

2. He Loves Justin Bieber

All right, so he’s got one strike against him.

1. He Loves America

With Jonny Gomes no longer here, the Red Sox desperately needed a player to fit that same patriotic mold.

Joe Kelly is just that.

During Game 6 of the NLCS last year against the Dodgers, Kelly remained on the field — hand over heart — for minutes after the national anthem, refusing to back down to Los Angeles’ Scott Van Slyke in what’s described as an epic American standoff.

Joe Kelly, welcome to Boston!


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