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Dodgers: Kenley Jansen Changed His Approach This Offseason

The big man had some different goals and methods to work from.



This is one of the first years in a long time that the Dodgers are not coming into a season leaning on Kenley Jansen. In the final year of his contract, Los Angeles has enough high-quality arms out in the bullpen to supplant him from the closer role if they really wanted to. 

But Dave Roberts and the Dodgers coaching staff want him in that role. They want to see him thrive and dominate hitters once again like he’s done in the past. And Doc already went into his first press conference of Spring Training saying that Kenley is the closer. 

With that in mind, the Dodgers sound like they put a lot of work into Kenley this offseason. Pitching coach Mark Prior talked about how they changed up his approach, making minor mechanical tweaks and changing his workout routine. 

We’ve made some adjustments in his offseason training and hopefully, maybe that would have some impact on it this year. And we’ve made some little tweaks here and there on his process coming into the season…Some of it’s been some of the workouts changing it to be more athletic and less bulk or mass strength. Just trying to get him stuff that’s a little more holistic, allow his body to move a little freer. 

While the specifics are not known, it sounds like they moved Kenely away from a focus on weight training. The Dodgers have sent guys into the offseason working on their flexibility and focusing on their body movements in the past. There were even times in recent history that they had guys in yoga-type of training. 

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If the Dodgers want to get the most that they can out of Kenley in his final year, he’s going to have to start strong out of the gate. If he stumbles early, don’t be surprised to see Dave Roberts move away from a traditional closer role. 

But don’t forget, at his peak, Kenley Jansen is one of the most dominant closers the game of baseball has ever seen. And he can be that again. 

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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. Kenley was a dominant closer, not is. He hasn’t been a dominant closer for a few years now. And the odds he becomes one again are not good. The good news is there are plenty of arms in the pen to pick up the slack.

  2. So its Kenleys job to loose but even if he is on track and having good results, there’s plenty of arms in the pen that can allow KJ to be able to go thru a long season without having to have him pitch in every close game. Means he can take a few days off when need be due to the depth that’s in the pen.

  3. Despite what the team is saying, the reality is that he needs to regain the job. He was not the last man standing when it mattered last year. That hasn’t changed

  4. Kenley deserves a chance at the closer roll because of his past service. He will probably be just fine as long as Roberts doesn’t over use him. There are a lot of arms now in the bull pen. No need to over use any of them ..

  5. This is the last year of his contract. His entire future as a pitcher will depend on how he does this year–from beginning to end. I suspect that he will have long periods of dominance, with a few short spells of mediocrity. His detractors will jump on him every time he gives up a homer. I hope that Doc sticks with him and gives him every opportunity to shine.

  6. Only way he can be a dominant closer again is if Doc Brown shows up in a DeLorean & takes him back 4 years

  7. Unless Pryor can work work miracles, I expect Jansen to continue his 4 – 5 year steady decline. It made no sense for DR to announce Jansen as the closer before spring training ever started. Why not look at reality, and how everyone actually performs in spring training? There are at least 5 pitchers on this team that can close games more competently than Jansen. But DR and Jansen are personal friends, so here we go again. The 9th inning will remain a coin flipper.

  8. We are in a great place regarding Kenley. We have great hitting, great starting pitching and good fielding. So if Roberts picks his spots for Kenley, things should be fine. Three run leads in the ninth. RH batters coming up. Batters that struggle with pitches up in the zone. Easy Peasy.
    And–no more than 2 days in a row. Kenley in his walk year should help, too. And 3 or 4 hitters, That’s it.

  9. Kenley pitched 35 times last year. He gave up runs 7 times. 4 of those 7 games happened when he had pitched the night before. If you take out those days when he pitched with no rest, he was elite last year (other than the Houston game — that was something else). Doc just has to avoid overusing him.

  10. Please have more of an open mind in naming Jansen as “The Closer” DR And be more fair to “The Team” as a whole with that being said.Yesvthete is always a tmrw game ,But It’s very easy to create a funk or negative mood in the club house with losses that should have been WINS ,had you of not made moves that make no sense when other proven arms are available. What’s wrong with Julio being your closer, he deserves that shot with maybe Kenley setting up. Everyone knows that Kenley is pretty much used up as the dominant closer he once was and it’s just not fair to him, the team or us, the fans ,who pay big money to enjoy there team , And Wins, that turn out to be losses when Kenley blows another one. You can’t have your closer giving up homers in the 9th of close games. At least have a 3-4 run lead if you bring in Jansen ,but then with that, what kind of closer are you bringing in, a set up man???? Please re-consider Kenley as the closer DR and I think its way way premature naming him as the closer so early in spring training.. You won’t hear it but I’m sure some team members are already scratching there heads. That’s all..

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