After Aroldis Chapman signed a record-breaking contract with the New York Yankees, the Dodgers’ lone competitor for Kenley Jansen was thought to be the Miami Marlins. Turns out, another NL East opponent is throwing its name in the mix.
The Washington Nationals, fresh off a blockbuster trade for Adam Eaton, are interested in Jansen, according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden. The Los Angeles Times confirmed Washington’s interest.
“The Marlins have the best offer on the table for Kenley Jansen. The Nationals have asked his camp to come back to them before they do a deal and the Dodgers would like to have him back – but not at Chapman range.” -Bowden said in the report.
The Nationals have flirted with big moves all offseason. The team came close to acquiring Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and were reportedly near a deal for White Sox ace Chris Sale before Boston jumped back in. Most pundits agree Washington overpaid for Eaton, with the deal headlined by pitching phenom Lucas Giolito, but the Nationals are desperate. Bryce Harper’s time there is reportedly limited and Washington is the only MLB franchise yet to advance past a divisional series.
Washington lost closer Mark Melancon to the Giants and missed out on Wade Davis to Chicago. The team has a glaring hole at the back of its bullpen and Jansen could be the missing piece. As Andy McCullough pointed out in The Times piece, Washington could pose a bigger threat than the Marlins considering Miami’s history of back-loading contracts. It’s no secret Jansen wants his pay day immediately.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 8, 2016
On the other side of the coin, Jansen is said to value comfort, which favors L.A. and Miami. The Marlins have former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who has recruited Jansen, as well as former Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, who has caught 48% of Jansen’s MLB innings.
There has been doubt among those in Chapman/Jansen race about how serious LAD are about paying big dollars to a closer. About to find out.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 8, 2016
The Jansen market is expected to close soon. Miami might have the best offer, but there’s no reason to think the Dodgers have backed down just yet. Los Angeles already missed on the best alternatives. Retaining Jansen is paramount, but his expected salary will continue to create pause.