The Dodgers have relied on Kenley Jansen for a very long time. For the past decade, he’s been the guy that Dave Roberts has turned to in the 9th inning and lock down wins. But now that he has moved on to the Atlanta Braves on a free agent deal, Doc will need to decide how to approach closing out games.
Last year, we got to see Dave change things up a little bit. He deviated from the norm of strictly using Kenley in the 9th inning, pivoting on occasion to matchup-based usage. And it sounds like the Dodgers could go that route this year, only more aggressively.
Speaking with members of the media on Saturday, Dave Roberts talked about Kenley leaving the Dodgers. Doc also mentioned that the 9th inning wasn’t going to be an assigned role, meaning he would like to base usage off of matchups.
“It’s not necessarily the inning. It’s more of who they match up best against. That’s more of the conversation that we have. So as long as we feel like we’re putting whatever reliever it is in the best chance to dominate those hitters, then all guys are accepting and understanding of them.”
The most logical replacement for Kenley in the 9th is Blake Treinen. Once an All-Star closer for the A’s, Treinen locked down 7 saves for the Dodgers last season. His pitch mix and velocity play up big time in relief, but especially late in games.
But Treinen has also filled a crucial role for the Dodgers the last few seasons. More often than not Doc has matched him up with the tougher run of hitters. That has resulted in a 2.48 ERA and 107 strikeouts over the course of 98 innings pitched.
So expect the Dodgers to go with a closer-by-committee approach, at least to start the season.