First, Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen was given a vote of confidence by Dave Roberts leading up to the MLB postseason. Then, he threw to just five batters. To be fair, Jansen didn’t allow a baserunner; but wasn’t given the ball in a big spot in game five with the season on the line.
In actuality, the lack of move spoke volumes about how the manager views Jansen currently. Furthermore, one may wonder how the organization feels about Jansen moving forward.
Thankfully, Andrew Friedman had his end of season press conference on Monday. One of the things he addresses is the closer role in regards to Jansen moving forward. Here’s what he had to say:
My sense is that Kenley will be our closer… we'll see how things play out.
Jansen has an opt out in his contract this offseason.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) October 14, 2019
Indeed, Friedman left the door open for all possibilities; which is the smart thing to do for a man in his position. More on that in just a second, let’s look at the quote.
“My sense is that Kenley will be our closer, we’ll see how things play out.”
Of course, quotes followed a lot things during the press conference to the effect of ‘all things are on the table’. Without question, anything could happen from here.
While the most likely scenario is exactly what Friedman said – Jansen gets the first bite at the apple – the greater point is that the question is being asked and the Dodgers are eliminated. Luckily for Jansen, he wasn’t a direct reason the team was eliminated by the Nationals in the NLDS.
However, the fact that it’s a decent question in which Friedman has to say he will see how things play out should tell you all you need to know.
Jansen finished the season with a career-high 3.71 ERA, and his highest WHIP (1.063) since the 2014 season. As stated, is sounds like Jansen will likely open the season as the team’s closer in 2020. From there, it’s going to depend on how he does; as it should.