Last week we discussed why I feel the Dodgers should resign Justin Turner, and this week I had planned on writing about how they should handle the pending free agency for closer Kenley Jansen. I was going to go over other closers entering free agency, what the best closers are getting paid, and other pertinent information.
That plan screeched to a halt around 3pm thursday afternoon, when the Dodgers traded catcher AJ Ellis for Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash. What does that have to do with KJ? We’ll get there…just gimme a minute.
I’m glad I wasn’t tasked with the ‘who won the trade’ article for the AJ trade; in the end, the Dodgers won the trade because we got a catcher who is marginally better at hitting left handed pitching, at the cost of a player who sat more than he played. Cut and dry. Very easy. Today we’re going to delve into the idea that, at our core, all us fans really root for is laundry.
Stay with me here…
Imagine a parallel universe; one where California is on the east coast, coffee is your go-to adult beverage, and your Los Angeles Dodgers have won world series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Dodgers stars like Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt adorn Los Angeles kid’s walls, and Joe Panik spends his off days visiting kids at a local LA hospital.
Meanwhile, yucky smelly Clayton Kershaw is a dirty SF Giant, Adrian Gonzalez is the greatest Giant first baseman, and Justin Turner and Joc Pederson are smashing home runs into McCovey cove nightly.
Let that soak in…
Would you feel any differently about your Dodgers? Of course not. There would probably be a few more Dodgers fans, but other than that, you would still love them. Still root for them. Still hate the teams/players that better them, and pray that they win that next game, the next series, make the playoffs, etc. You would because you wouldn’t know any better; to you, the Dodgers were destined to win those 3 rings, the dumb Giants can’t win in the postseason, etc.
You see…we root for laundry. At the end of the day, while we remain fans of players that come and go during our fanships, our allegiances stay with the Dodgers. Period. You aren’t going to start rooting for the Phillies now that AJ was traded, are you? No. Why? Because you love the Dodgers, not the guys wearing the uniforms. We root for laundry; some of us burn with a white-hot passion, insatiable when it comes to anything and everything Dodgers. Others are luke-warm; they might check the standings once a week, watch a game if it’s on TV, but couldn’t tell you who the back-up 1st baseman is. Either route is great, but the fact remains; you root for the Dodgers, not the Corey Seager/Joc Pederson/Adrian Gonzalez’es.
Look at the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick trade: we gave up 3 really good prospects, Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas and Jharel Cotton. Just to clue in the uninitiated: Holmes and Montas have major league arms, and will be pitching in the majors soon. Cotton threw a no-hitter within a week of the trade, so we gave up a TON of talent, but we did get some in return, as evidenced by Rich Hills dominant start vs. the Giants Wednesday night.
Did the fact that Rich Hill was an Oakland A somehow tarnish his performance Wednesday night? Nope. You cheered him on, told Buster to sit down after striking out, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of his performance. He’s now a Dodger, one of us, and because he wears the right laundry, he’s our guy.
See? It wasn’t that hard. Welcome to the club, Rich! I’m being as patient as possible with your buddy Josh, and I feel he’ll turn it around soon enough…
Now, what does any of this have to do with Kenley Jansen? Well, a little, and a lot.
Kenley is a free agent at the end of this year, and a quick glance at the list of free agent closers tells me 2 things; we are EXTREMELY lucky to have KJ on our staff, as his numbers stack up with any of the guys available, and he’s relatively young for a closer, tied for the youngest on our prestigious list at 28 yrs young.
Kenley deserves to get paid; no two ways about that. A lot of teams will line up to throw a lot of money at him, but if you combine his age, his skill set, and his manageable cost, resigning KJ is a no-brainer.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at some of the top closer salaries:
- Rafael Soriano 2yrs $28m
- Jonathan Papelbon 4yrs $50m
- Heath Bell 3yrs $27m
One look at that list and you get an idea as to what the Dodgers are up against; I expect Kenley to fetch something like 3 to 4 years, $14m a year, which is understandable considering some of those bloated deals listed above.
Do the Dodgers suck it up and pay him? I hope, but, as evidenced just yesterday, baseball is a business, and our front office will stop at nothing to ensure that we have whatever edge necessary to win. And while that sounds great in theory, in function, it costs us clubhouse leaders like AJ Ellis, who couldn’t hit his weight if he tried, but left many Dodger fans, this one included, in tears at the news of his trade. At the end of the day, I’ll root for the Dodgers anyway; after all, I really just root for laundry.