Tag: Kenley Jansen

Dodgers Remain Among NL Elite by Re-Signing Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner

Nearly $200 million and exactly three familiar faces later, the Los Angeles Dodgers have retained a roster worthy of the top of the National League power structure.

The first $48 million went into a three-year contract for lefty starter Rich Hill, who continued his late-career revival with a 1.83 ERA in six starts for the Dodgers in the home stretch of 2016. On Monday, Los Angeles committed another $144 million to relief ace Kenley Jansen and third baseman Justin Turner.

As Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM confirmed, Jansen’s deal is for five years and $80 million:

According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, the reliever’s pact also includes an opt-out after 2019.

Confirmation on Turner’s contract is stuck in the pipeline for the moment. But Joel Sherman of the New York Post teased it will be for four years and $64 million. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com is hearing the same:

The Dodgers aren’t finished with their offseason checklist. They still need an everyday second baseman. After Josh Reddick’s departure, they could also use corner outfield depth.

For now, though, the Dodgers deserve a tip of the ol’ cap for focusing their offseason maneuvers on the right places and the right players.

Given that he’s a 36-year-old who only twice has gone over 100 innings, Hill comes with durability questions. But talent that’s produced a 2.00 ERA in 24 starts since 2015 made him the most desirable starter on the open market and a good fit for a Dodgers rotation that had depth but needed a proper partner in crime for Clayton Kershaw.

For a player like that, $16 million per year isn’t too much. It certainly sounds better than $16 million per year for a relief pitcher, anyway.

Of course, it’s not the Dodgers’ fault they had to back up a truck filled with that much money for Jansen. Mark Melancon set the market for elite relief pitching when the San Francisco Giants signed him for $62 million over four years. Aroldis Chapman further drove the point home when he accepted five years and $86 million from the New York Yankees.

Simply going with the flow of supply and demand is out of character for a Dodgers front office that favors being analytical and, above all, rational. But, you know what they say about that.

“If you’re always rational about every free agent, you will finish third on every free agent,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

It’s also not like the Dodgers are spending big on a bad reliever. Jansen has dominated since the start of his major league career back in 2010. He’s taken it to a whole ‘nother level since sharpening his control in 2013, compiling a 2.19 ERA and 7.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last 268 appearances.

Through the lens of FanGraphs WAR, here are the top two relievers in baseball since 2013:

  1. Aroldis Chapman: 9.7
  2. Kenley Jansen: 9.4

See that difference? That doesn’t look like a $6 million difference to me.

The concern is that Jansen, now 29, will lose zip as he ages. But that’s a smaller concern with him than it is with other relievers. He averaged 93.6 mph on his cutter in 2016 but has been successful even with an average as low as 91.9 mph in 2012.

For Jansen, it’s not about velocity. It’s about movement. Like so:

That movement should ensure Jansen ages just fine. You know, sort of like another reliever who had a world-class cutter even after he was past his peak velocity.

It doesn’t take as many words to justify Turner’s contract. Although his $64 million is nearly $50 million less than the $110 million Yoenis Cespedes got from the New York Mets, it’s going toward arguably the best free agent the market had to offer.

That was Corinne Landrey‘s argument at MLB.com. And mine right here, for that matter. Over the last three seasons, Turner has posted an .856 OPS with 50 home runs while also rating as a strong defender at the hot corner.

Cue Dave Cameron‘s summary at FanGraphs:

Turner is not that much worse of a hitter than Edwin Encarnacion, only he can also play the field. The power isn’t the same, and teams continue to pay less for singles and doubles than home runs, but Turner gets to a similar overall value, and when you toss in the ability to play third base, 4/$64M in this market seems like a steal.

Although he’s already 32 years old, what sets Turner apart from other veteran free agents is how well-preserved he is. He didn’t become an everyday player until the Dodgers picked him up in 2014, which can only help him age gracefully.

With Hill, Jansen and Turner returning to the fold, the 2017 Dodgers will look a lot like the 2016 Dodgers. At worst, that could mean a repeat of a campaign that brought L.A. 91 wins and a fourth straight NL West title.

It’s likelier that even better things are in store.

The Dodgers can expect a lot more from not only Hill but Kershaw as well after a back injury limited him to 21 starts in 2016. They’ll also have healthy versions of Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Alex Wood. The young arms of Julio Urias and Jose De Leon contain all sorts of upside.

The Dodgers thus figure to have more than enough pitching to back up an offense anchored by capable veterans (Turner, Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal) and explosive young guns (Corey Seager and Joc Pederson).

And since they’ve only used money to flesh out their roster to this point, the Dodgers can now use their farm system to solve their second base conundrum. Brian Dozier and Ian Kinsler are among the available trade options, per Rosenthal. The former fits the Dodgers like a glove.

Even as is, the signings of Hill, Jansen and Turner ensure the Dodgers have enough firepower to remain among the NL’s elite clubs in 2017. The reigning champion Chicago Cubs loom as the team to beat, but the Dodgers are right there with the Giants and Washington Nationals among the clubs that could bring them down.

Which is to say, the $192 million they’ve spent to bring back their guys is going toward a good cause.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Kenley Jansen Re-Signs with Dodgers: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Relief pitcher Kenley Jansen reportedly re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Bowden reported the contract is for five years and worth $80 million. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports later reported Jansen chose the Dodgers over better offers from other clubs and has an opt-out clause after three years. The deal does not include a no-trade clause, per Rosenthal

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the Washington Nationals were willing to pay as much as $5 million more than the Dodgers.

Jansen, 29, was excellent for the Dodgers in 2016, compiling 47 saves in 53 opportunities to go along with 104 strikeouts, a 1.83 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in 68.2 innings pitched. It was his fifth straight season with 25 or more saves and his third straight season with at least 35 saves.

He’s established himself as one of baseball’s better closers, ensuring a big payday was coming this winter. But he hinted at a desire to stay before the 2016 season concluded.

“L.A.’s nice. L.A.’s great. L.A. gave me the opportunity. L.A. converted me when I failed as a catcher,” Jansen told Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball in September. “I’m grateful about it and will never forget L.A. But at the same time, we’ll have to see what’s good for the family.”

Ultimately, Jansen decided remaining in Los Angeles was the right move—and the Dodgers benefited.

Jansen will once again solidify the ninth inning for the team, meaning the Dodgers should again have an excellent pitching staff. If he can replicate his phenomenal form from the 2016 season, the Dodgers will have secured one of the best signings of free agency and should be a postseason contender again in 2017.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Nationals Snagging Kenley Jansen Would Put Mets in Need of an Impact Move

Kenley Jansen spent the weekend getting married in Curacao, per MLB.com’s Michael Clair. That explains the lack of fresh chatter concerning the offseason’s top remaining free agent. 

Soon, however, Jansen will select his big league bride. 

It could be the Los Angeles Dodgers, the only MLB team Jansen has ever known. It could be the Miami Marlins, who have thrown out a five-year, $80 million-plus offer, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan

Or, it could be the Washington Nationals, who are “making a push” for the All-Star closer, per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal

If Jansen signs with the Nats—and that’s a big “if”—it would shift the balance of power in the National League East. More specifically, it would put the division-rival New York Mets on notice: Make a move, or fall behind.

The Nationals have had an uneven winter to say the least. They lost closer Mark Melancon, who signed with the San Francisco Giants. They whiffed on southpaw Chris Sale, who landed on the Boston Red Sox. They came up short in an 11th-hour push to get All-Star reliever Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.

When the Nats finally pulled the trigger on a trade, it was a lopsided swap for Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton that cost them right-handers Lucas Giolito (MLB.com‘s No. 1 pitching prospect), Reynaldo Lopez (MLB.com’s No. 8 pitching prospect) and 2016 first-round draft pick Dane Dunning.

Eaton might make Washington better in the short term, but as I argued, it was an overpay born of desperation. 

Landing Jansen, even at the stratospheric dollars he’s going to command, could redeem the Nationals and position them as clear favorites in the East—unless New York makes a countermove.

Washington’s offense is anchored by a core of second baseman Daniel Murphy, right fielder Bryce Harper and speedy budding star Trea Turner. The starting rotation features a strong top four in reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. 

The bullpen, meanwhile, posted the second-best ERA (3.37) in MLB last year. That was with Melancon, whom the Nats acquired at the trade deadline. Jansen—whose 7.0 WAR between 2014 and 2016 ranks fourth-best in the game among relievers, per FanGraphs—could make Washington’s pen next-level elite over a full season.

OK, back to the Mets.

Unless you believe the Philadelphia Phillies’ rebuild is about to kick into overdrive, the Atlanta Braves will get some magical juju out of their new stadium or the Marlins will stop being the Marlins, New York is the Nationals’ closest competition out East.

Heck, the Amazin’s won the pennant in 2015. Last season was an injury-soaked disappointment, but they’re not far removed from top billing. Plus, they re-signed slugger Yoenis Cespedes, arguably the biggest bat on the market, and brought second baseman Neil Walker back for the qualifying offer.

At the same time, question marks are swirling in Queens, as ESPN.com’s Mark Simon noted:

At this point in the offseason, the currently composed Mets are a second-place team, in the middle of a crowded pack. Their best-case scenario might be another crack at Madison Bumgarner in the wild-card game.

The only certainty there, given the pitcher, would seem to be a rather unpleasant defeat.

Ouch. Too soon.

There is a glut in the outfield, with Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares all vying for playing time and payroll space.

Bruce is owed $13 million next season, and Granderson will make $15 million. Granderson is getting “more interest” in trade talks, per Newsday‘s Marc Carig

Either way, it’s clear the Mets need to move someone, both to loosen the logjam and free up some cash.

The Mets are about $10 million over their targeted Opening Day budget of $140 million, per Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News.

If they can unload an expensive outfielderpreferably Bruce, who sports an anemic .295 on-base percentage over the last three years—they could shake free enough capital to make another move.

Like, say, adding a bullpen arm to insure against closer Jeurys Familia’s possible domestic violence suspension. Or bolstering an offense that is counting on contributions from first baseman Lucas Duda and third baseman David Wright, both of whom have battled serious back injuries. 

Realistically, the Mets aren’t going to sign a reliever in the Jansen mold or a top-tier power bat such as Edwin Encarnacion, even if they shed payroll.

They don’t need to. The pitching rotation is the true X-factor. If Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler all return to health alongside Norse god Noah Syndergaard, New York will be right there. 

With Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo also in the mix, the club could roll with a six-man rotation.

“If it helps keep us healthy, then I am for it,” deGrom said, per Ackert

Still, the Mets should target at least one more impact player. On the free-agent market, a reliever such as Brad Ziegler could cushion the loss of Familia and strengthen the Mets’ pen overall.

Mike Napoli and Brandon Moss boast plus power and can play first base in case Duda doesn’t rebound. 

If New York manages to deal both Bruce and Granderson, it could go for an even bigger addition, though that seems unlikely.

For now, the Mets should be in wait-and-see mode. It’s the Nationals’ move.

If Washington manages to reel in Jansen, though, New York must be prepared to respond in kind. This is an arms race, plain and simple, and Tim Tebow won’t tip the scales.


All statistics courtesy of MLB.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Kenley Jansen Would Be Classic Head-Scratching Move for Adrift Marlins Franchise

Kenley Jansen is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. By definition, he’ll improve any club that signs him.

He doesn’t make sense for every team, however, financially or strategically, including the Miami Marlins.

So, naturally, they’re in deep on Jansen.

In fact, the 29-year-old right-hander is the Marlins’ “top target,” per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The Fish, Heyman noted, “are considering the idea of putting together a super pen since there aren’t the types of starters available at reasonable cost to help them upgrade their rotation in a meaningful way.”

That’s not absurd. Far from it. The super bullpen is baseball’s latest fad. It propelled the Kansas City Royals to a World Series title in 2015 and carried the Cleveland Indians to Game 7 a few short weeks ago.

If Miami lured him in, Jansen would join a pen headlined by All-Star A.J. Ramos, who posted a 2.66 ERA last season and racked up 73 strikeouts in 64 innings. 

Jansen also has ties to Marlins skipper Don Mattingly from their days with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He boasted a 1.84 ERA with 47 saves and 104 strikeouts in 68.2 innings and proved his mettle in the postseason. 

“Having a shutdown closer like Jansen changes the way teams have to plan against the Dodgers,” an unnamed talent evaluator told FanRag Sports’ Jack Magruder. The same would be true for any squad that inked him.

The dots connect.

Ask yourself, though: Is Miami really one superlative reliever away from bona fide contention?

The Marlins finished 79-82 last year, a distant third place in the National League East.

The offense is laden with potential. All-Star center fielder Marcell Ozuna and left fielder Christian Yelich are coming off breakout campaigns. Still, Miami ranked No. 27 in baseball in runs scored, “thanks” in part to the inconsistent stylings of $325 million man Giancarlo Stanton, who hit a scant .240 and paced the team with 140 strikeouts. 

The starting rotation lacks a legitimate No. 1 after the tragic death of Jose Fernandez and will rely on a muddled mishmash topped by veteran lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who posted a 4.96 ERA in his first season in South Beach. 

There are no aces to be had via free agency. Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter, meanwhile, ranked the Marlins’ farm system No. 27 in baseball, meaning a roster-remaking trade is unlikely. 

Speaking of which: Jansen would cost the Marlins their first-round draft pick since he rejected the Dodgers’ qualifying offer.

If we were talking about a team that was an elite closer away from World Series glory, that would be a worthwhile trade-off. 

For Miami? Not so much.

Then again, this is a franchise that defines dysfunction. They’re a team, as Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller put it in December, “that always is just one elephant short of going full Barnum & Bailey under the carnival-barker owner Jeffrey Loria.”

The Marlins have won two titles in their relatively brief existence and proceeded to tear each roster down posthaste. They built a gaudy new stadium on a financially unstable foundation. They hired Barry Bonds, arguably baseball’s most polarizing figure, to be their hitting coach and canned him after one season.

We could go on. Even casual observers, however, understand that the Marlins and bizarre decisions go together like stuffing and gravy.

On the grand Miami head-scratching scale, signing Jansen for the $80 million to $90 million he’s sure to command wouldn’t rate near the top. 

But it would be a classic Marlins overreach: Big-game hunting for a splashy name at the expense of a draft pick and a hunk of payroll without an apparent plan. Miami’s budget ranks in the bottom third, per Spotrac. Unless Loria is preparing to untie the purse strings, Jansen is an incongruous luxury.

Miami should hang on to its first-round pick. It should figure out which parts of its current offensive core it wants to keep and nurture.

It should methodically bolster and rebuild the starting rotation over the next few seasons and sketch a road map that goes deeper than the shiniest free agent on the shelf.

For the Marlins, though, “should” is rarely synonymous with “do.” Which means Jansen will probably soon wear an “M” on his hat.


All statistics courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Kenley Jansen: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Free-Agent RP

Closer Kenley Jansen will be one of the top free agents on the market and is one of the elite closers available to teams that are looking to bolster the back end of the bullpen.

Continue for updates.

Giants Showing Interest in Jansen

Thursday, Nov. 10

The San Francisco Giants have met with representatives for Jansen, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. 

Jansen, 29, was superb for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, finishing 3-2 in 71 appearances with a 1.83 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 104 strikeouts and 47 saves in 53 save opportunities.

Jansen has established himself as one of the best closers in baseball with at least 25 saves in five straight seasons, 127 saves in the past three years alone and at least 80 strikeouts in six straight years.

For that reason, the Dodgers are still interested in retaining Jansen and are talking to his agent, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers have also met with the representatives of Justin Turner and Rich Hill, as the team looks to avoid losing a crucial trio of players from the 2016 roster on the free-agent market.

Certainly, losing any of them to a divisional rival like the Giants would sting. Especially Jansen, who would be a dramatic upgrade over Santiago Casilla (3.57 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 31 saves in 40 opportunities).

Closer is clearly a priority for the Giants this offseason. Per Morosi, the team also reportedly reached out to representatives for closer Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon, so the Giants have identified a major area of need.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2017 MLB Free Agents: Rumors, Predictions for Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, More

Even with the MLB playoffs ongoing, many MLB fans are beginning to look ahead to the offseason and speculate where the biggest stars might land.

Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen and Edwin Encarnacion are three of the most talented players available. They’re all still playing in the postseason, but that hasn’t stopped a flurry of rumors regarding their respective futures.

Below are updates on Turner, Jansen and Encarnacion‘s impending free agency.


Justin Turner

Turner had the best regular season of his career in 2016. Even at 31 years old, he’s poised to receive a hefty contract when he enters free agency in the offseason.

Rather than being excited about his future payday, Turner said in September he’ll be happier when it’s over, according to the Orange County Register‘s Bill Plunkett:

I guess everyone’s cut from a different cloth. I personally don’t look forward to it. Obviously, I’ll be excited when it’s over with. But that whole process is the part of baseball I could do without. The process of playing the game, the preparation of getting ready for the games—that’s what I love about it. The process of the off-the-field stuff is not very fun.

In the same interview, Turner confirmed he had had preliminary contract talks with the Dodgers but didn’t make any long-term commitment to Los Angeles: “There’s been some dialogue back and forth, but it didn’t go anywhere. I was open to it to see what they had to say. I let my agent do most of it. I’m not trying to worry too much about it.”

On Sunday, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported the signs point to Turner hitting the open market.

For the right price, re-signing Turner makes sense for the Dodgers. He tied for the team lead in home runs (27) and runs batted in (90). According to FanGraphs, he also finished sixth among qualified third basemen in defensive runs saved (seven) and first in ultimate zone rating per 150 games (17.2).

Los Angeles will have to think long and hard about for how much and how long it’s willing to commit to Turner, though. His performance shouldn’t drastically decline in 2017, but he’s unlikely to improve significantly over the next few years.

The Dodgers weren’t willing to match the Arizona Diamondbacks’ contract for Zack Greinke, and it looks like they dodged a major bullet. Although bidding for Turner won’t reach Greinke-like levels, it’s easy to see Los Angeles opting against re-signing him if he’s receiving significant offers elsewhere.

In terms of his next possible destination, this could be a chance for the Atlanta Braves to make a statement, similar to when the perennially mediocre Washington Nationals inked a 31-year-old Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million deal.

The Braves are moving into SunTrust Park next year, so it’s important for the team to show fans that it’s taking steps in the right direction. Another 60-win season will quickly blunt the excitement of the new ballpark.

Signing Turner wouldn’t make the Braves a contender overnight, but he’d be a massive upgrade at third over Adonis Garcia. His arrival would also be a sign from ownership that it’s willing to spend what’s necessary to turn Atlanta around.

Prediction: Turner signs with Braves.


Kenley Jansen

Ever since Guggenheim Baseball Management took ownership of the Dodgers from Frank McCourt in 2012, the group has spared no expense to bring a World Series to Los Angeles.

Here’s a look at where the team’s total payroll ranked each year from 2013 to 2016, per Spotrac:

According to Heyman, though, the Dodgers may be looking to trim their spending slightly in the years to come, which could mean allowing free agents such as Turner, Jansen, Josh Reddick and Rich Hill to walk in free agency:

Anyway, it’s reasonable to think that the Dodgers, with their emphasis on youth, their collection of top prospects and their consideration to be below the threshold in the future, could be outbid for one or more of their top free agents. One rival official who has some familiarity with their inner workings predicted they could wind up re-signing none of them, though in a later conversation seemed to amend that, saying, ‘I don’t know who’s going to close if they don’t keep Kenley.’

Between the regular season he had and postseason he’s having, failing to re-sign Jansen would be a mistake for the Dodgers.

Beyond his 47 saves, Jansen averaged 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings and posted a 1.83 earned-run average. His 1.44 FIP was second-lowest among qualified relievers behind Aroldis Chapman, per FanGraphs.

The 29-year-old melted down in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, which was a non-save situation. In his 15.2 innings outside that appearance, he has allowed zero runs in the 2016 playoffs.

Of course, the importance of an elite closer can be overstated at times. It’s also fair to question how much longer Jansen can continue pitching like he has this season. Craig Kimbrel’s last few seasons are evidence as to how quickly things can take a turn for the worse for a top-end closer.

With that said, the Dodgers will be a World Series contender again in 2017, even if they plan on relying on some of their talented prospects. As such, Los Angeles will need to have somebody upon whom it can rely in the ninth inning.

Failing to re-sign Jansen would force the Dodgers to find a replacement who in all likelihood would be a major downgrade.

Unless another team comes in with a crazy offer for the 2016 All-Star, Los Angeles should do everything it can to ensure he remains with the team for the long term.

Prediction: Jansen re-signs with Dodgers.


Edwin Encarnacion

This will be an interesting offseason for the Toronto Blue Jays. Both Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are free agents. The former is 33 and the latter is 35.

In June, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported Toronto doesn’t plan on re-signing either player to long-term deals in the offseason.

If the past is any indication, both sluggers will be playing elsewhere in 2017.

During his time with the Cleveland Indians, Blue Jays team president Mark Shapiro routinely traded or declined to re-sign the team’s priciest veterans. According to TSN’s Rick Westhead, Shapiro was upset then-general manager Alex Anthopoulos offloaded so many top prospects in trades to acquire David Price and Troy Tulowitzki.

While Shapiro is unlikely to want a complete rebuild in Toronto, he may instruct general manager Ross Atkins—another Indians transplant—against spending extravagantly on two hitters in their mid-30s.

Should Encarnacion hit the open market, he may not have to change divisions. The Boston Globe‘s Nick Cafardo reported on Oct. 8 the Boston Red Sox could make a push to sign the first baseman/designated hitter.

On Saturday, Cafardo pictured a future in which Boston used Encarnacion to supplement Hanley Ramirez:

When [president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski] said at his postmortem press conference last week that [Ramirez] could play both first base and DH, that’s probably because [Encarnacion] can do the same. You could have this pair alternate between DH and first base. Encarnacion likes to play the field. Like Ramirez, he’s a below-average first baseman but serviceable. The important thing is both are powerful righthanded bats, especially at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox couldn’t find a better replacement—at least in the short term—for the retiring David Ortiz. Over the last five years, Encarnacion has averaged a little over 38 home runs and 110 RBI a season. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he’s also a .286 hitter with 14 homers and 41 RBI in 50 games at Fenway Park.

Dave Dombrowski has rarely shied away from making major moves to help his teams in the present, which is how he turned the Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers into World Series contenders. Last offseason, he signed off on committing $217 million to David Price.

Should the Blue Jays turn down the chance to bring Encarnacion back, the Red Sox will likely be first in line to sign him.

Prediction: Encarnacion signs with Red Sox.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Kenley Jansen Comments on Impending Free-Agency Decision, Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is set to hit free agency after his one-year, $10.65 million contract expires at the end of the 2016 season, per Spotrac

Having spent his entire seven-year career with the Dodgers, Jansen revealed to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball that he isn’t automatically committing to Los Angeles in the winter:

LA’s nice. LA’s great. LA gave me the opportunity. LA converted me when I failed as a catcher. I’m grateful about it, and will never forget LA. But at the same time, we’ll have to see what’s good for the family… It’s going to be a tough decision. It’s not going to only be me.

Jansen originally joined the Dodgers organization as a catcher, though he was unable to find success at the plate in the minors. It was there he moved from behind the plate to the mound, joining the Dodgers bullpen in 2010. 

After two years as a middle reliever and setup man, Jansen became the team’s closer in 2012 and hasn’t relinquished the role since. 

Over the past five years, the Curacao native has recorded 177 saves, including 44 in 2014. In total, his 186 career saves are a Dodgers all-time record. He also hasn’t recorded an ERA over 2.76 in that span and is experiencing a career year in 2016. 

In 65 games, Jansen has already tied his career high with 44 saves while posting an ERA of 1.72, which will be the lowest of his career in a season in which he appeared in over 25 games. 

It warranted his first-ever All-Star selection and has helped the Dodgers open up a four-game lead in the National League West over the San Francisco Giants entering Friday night. 

He doesn’t have the most overpowering stuff compared to other premier closers around the game such as Aroldis Chapman of the Chicago Cubs and Jeurys Familia of the New York Mets. But a fastball that tops out around 94 miles per hour is supported by a seldom-used slider that is more than 10 miles per hour slower, per Fangraphs, which has made him so tough to figure out:

Excelling at a position that has become a hot commodity in a game that stresses pitch counts from its starters, Jansen will surely garner plenty of attention during free agency this winter. 

If a team that is desperate for late-inning help comes along, a bidding war might decide where Jansen lands in 2017. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jansen Passes Gagne Atop Dodgers’ All-Time Saves List

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen earned his 162nd career save in Monday’s 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals, and he passed Eric Gagne to take sole possession of first place atop the franchise’s all-time saves list, per MLB Stat of the Day.

Monday’s game was expected to feature a duel between Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw and Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, but the latter was scratched from his start due to an upper back strain, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.

Yusmeiro Petit replaced Strasburg, and the 31-year-old Venezuelan struck out five batters and allowed three runs over six innings to notch a quality start, yet he was unsurprisingly outdueled by Kershaw.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner tossed seven strong innings, fanning eight batters while allowing one run on six hits.

Kershaw didn’t surrender any walks, which leaves him with an absurd 141-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the season.

Jansen got one of his easier save opportunities of the year, as he entered for the bottom of the ninth with his team holding a 4-1 lead.

He proceeded to strike out first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and catcher Wilson Ramos, then he finished the game by inducing a groundout from third baseman Anthony Rendon.

The 28-year-old Jansen is enjoying arguably the finest season of his career, having converted 20 of his 23 save opportunities while posting a 1.53 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in 31 appearances (29.1 innings), with 35 strikeouts and only four walks.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Jansen Set to Pass Eric Gagne as Dodgers’ All-Time Saves Leader

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen enters the week needing just one more save to pass Eric Gagne for sole possession of first place on the franchise’s all-time saves list, per MLB Stat of the Day.

Though only 28 years old and now in his seventh MLB season, Jansen is already set to hold a key record for one of MLB’s most storied franchises.

He had just four saves as a rookie in 2010 and only five more in 2011 before registering 25 in 2012 and 28 in 2013 despite working as a setup man for parts of both seasons.

Jansen has been the full-time closer the past three years, piling up 44 saves in 2014, 36 in 2015 and now 19 through the first two-and-a-half months of 2016.

His career total of 161 puts him even on the franchise leaderboard with Gagne, who collected 161 of his 187 career saves in a Dodgers uniform.

Gagne memorably won the National League Cy Young Award in 2003, remarkably converting each of his 55 save opportunities while posting a 1.20 ERA and 0.69 WHIP with 137 strikeouts and 20 walks in 82.1 innings (77 appearances).

Jansen has never approached that level of dominance, but he may end up having a superior career on the whole.

After oddly tossing exactly 82.1 innings in three straight seasons from 2002 to 2004, Gagne was never again the same pitcher, struggling with injuries and ineffectiveness while bouncing around from team to team.

Jansen did toss 76.2 innings back in 2013, but he’s otherwise fallen shy of 70 in every season, and he’s on pace for 64.1 innings (and 43 saves) this year.

Enjoying arguably his best season to date, the right-hander has converted 19 of his 22 save opportunities while posting a 1.59 ERA and 0.74 WHIP with 33 strikeouts and just four walks in 28.1 innings (30 appearances).

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Aroldis Chapman Trade Eliminates Dodgers’ Urgency for a Second Elite Ace

The Los Angeles Dodgers could not retain their Ace 2.0, so they are falling back on one of the absolute best and easily the most intimidating reliever in Major League Baseball.

After drawing a line in the sand and watching the Arizona Diamondbacks cross it to sign 32-year-old Zack Greinke to the highest average annual value in major league history ($34.4 million), the club turned its focus toward acquiring Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

That focus has turned into maybe the biggest blockbuster trade of the offseason. The Dodgers and Reds have agreed to a deal that would net Chapman and his nearly 16 strikeouts per nine innings last season for two of Los Angeles’ better prospects, but not any of its coveted top three—shortstop Corey Seager and pitchers Julio Urias and Jose De Leon.

The deal just might give the Dodgers the best bullpen in the NL West next season, if not the entire league, after it was often far too unreliable for the team to win in October. And beyond that, it gives them the kind of late-inning dominance that scrubs away some of the urgency to replace Greinke with another secondary ace behind Clayton Kershaw, though one could still be in play via free agency or even another blockbuster trade.

Spending money has not been an overwhelming concern for the Dodgers since the Guggenheim Baseball Management group gained control of the team in 2012, but considering Greinke and David Price both commanded contracts well beyond $200 million and Johnny Cueto has already turned down $120 million from the Diamondbacks, they opted to go the route of building a dominant bullpen rather than add another player that would cost them upward of $30 million a season—Kershaw’s AAV is $30.7 million.

This plan obviously comes from the Kansas City Royals’ mold. They won the World Series with mediocre starting pitching, but masked that fact with a lights-out bullpen that dominated the seventh, eighth and ninth innings all year long.

The Dodgers rotation, with Kershaw’s greatness, Hyun-jin Ryu’s return from a shoulder injury and Hisashi Iwakuma’s possible bargain free-agent signing, is better than what Kansas City had in its World Series run. And with the bullpen being on par now, the Dodgers do not have the need for another No. 1 starter to replace Greinke.

“Because the price for starting pitching is so high both in free agency and in trade, they’d build strength from the back of the bullpen forward,” Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal said on MLB Network. “And if you have Chapman and Jansen for a potential three innings each night, that’s not bad.”

We do not know how the Dodgers might deploy incumbent closer Kenley Jansen and Chapman—there is potential for a ninth-inning platoon with Jansen being right-handed and Chapman being a lefty—but both have the potential to get more than three outs on any given night. Plus, the deal now takes pressure off guys like J.P Howell (1.43 ERA), Pedro Baez (2.51 FIP) and Chris Hatcher (10.4 strikeouts per nine innings), as all can fill more specialized roles in lower-leverage situations. That assumes none of them is included in the return package to the Reds.

The Dodgers can still add another quality starter. That is not out of the question with a guy like Cueto still available and even possible jaw-dropping deals for guys like Shelby Miller or Jose Fernandez being bandied about the winter meetings, though those trades seemed like long shots as of Monday morning.

But even if they do not sign or pry away another rotation piece, this new bullpen dynamic and the current starting depth give them quite the formidable staff.

However, there is already speculation about a potential problem, especially with a first-year manager in Dave Roberts having to deal with it. Both pitchers are elite—Jansen has a 2.28 career ERA and has averaged 14 strikeouts per nine innings, while Chapman has a 2.17 career ERA and has averaged 15.4 strikeouts per nine—and both will undoubtedly want to close.

While neither guy is likely to prefer a move to the eighth inning or a split role, assuming any role besides full-time closer a season before their free agency will not have any affect on their open-market value a year from now. As long as they perform as they have in the past, both Chapman and Jansen stand to be paid as elite relievers in a game that has already seen non-closers like Darren O’Day and Ryan Madson rake in huge deals this offseason.

This is an era that looks at more than saves to determine a reliever’s value, and contracts are based solely on performance and not the inning in which it comes. So while the prestige of being the closer on a World Series contender might not be afforded to one or the other, the dollars definitely will be come next winter.

Simply knowing the Dodgers did not have to give up their best prospects for a one-year lease on an All-Star reliever makes the trade a win for them because of the way it solidifies the entire pitching staff. No longer is there an urgency to sign a nine-figure starter, and no longer is there concern that their bullpen will cost them in the postseason, assuming they qualify in 2016.

The Dodgers are likely not done moving and shaking at the winter meetings, but this is a fantastic start and things could get better for them in the next few days.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress