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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Calls Kenley Jansen Exceptional in His First Action

Doc likes what he’s seeing out of his closer.



Like it or not, Kenley Jansen is going to open the season as the Dodgers closer. Dave Roberts has said it several times and it will continue to be true until it’s not. With that in mind, hearing good things about Kenley at Spring Training is always a good sign. 

In years past, Spring Training has been an odd time for Jansen. There have been several occasions the Dodgers opted to give him more time to ramp up, resulting in very few appearances in Cactus League games. 

In other years, injuries have limited his Spring Training action which resulted in rough starts to the regular season. But according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, Jansen is right where he needs to be in 2021. Doc briefed the media on Thursday and talked about how good Kenley looked. 

They were both good. Both sharp. Julio got his work in, and I thought Kenley was exceptional…I think Kenley in particular, just the life to the fastball. It was really the command was great, the fastball cut, the two-seamer, the breaking ball, everything was on point today. 

On one hand, that is exactly the sort of thing you expect Dave to say at this point in Spring Training. But the Dodgers need Kenley to be very good in 2021, so any good news at all will be most welcomed. 

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The Dodgers enter their 2021 campaign with Kenley sort of on the chopping block. Not only is he in a contract year, but this is also the first year in a while that they have several guys that can replace him if he stumbles out of the gate. 

But remember: When Kenley Jansen is good, the Dodgers are VERY good. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Somebody please tell me that there is no way the Dodgers would resign Jansen after this year.

  2. Hey Dave, glad everything is “exceptional” with Kenley. You described everything about his pitching but you forgot to mention his velocity. Been going down every year for the past 3 years. 89mph fastball/cutter just ain’t going to cut it for a closer. Might be workable for the A minor leagues. Time to move on.

  3. Dodgers are so good they’re giving other teams the Kenly Odds and they’re still favored to win.

  4. Kenley had one outing last year where he gave up 5 earned runs. He would have had a 1.50 ERA without it. He has spoiled us because he was elite for 5 or 6 years. That being said, we need to still hand him the ball in the ninth but try to mix in others to give him the best chances for success this year. Lower part of the batting order. RH batters that struggle with strikes up in the zone, etc. And he will have a decent year. But yeah,, I think this should be his swan song with us unless he agrees to a less leverage role at 7 or 8 per year as we hand the 9th to Graterol or someone else.
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