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Dodgers: Roberts Has Faith in Kenley Jansen, But Will Consider Bigger Picture

A more direct Dave offers thoughts, but are they just words?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers has a conversation with releif pitcher Kenley Jansen #74 in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on June 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Dodgers won 9-8. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

On today’s episode of “as the Kenley turns,” Jansen’s status is the question for Dave Roberts. The closer has been stronger in September, but still has blown 4 of his last 8 save opportunities overall. After ultimately falling short of the October goal in each of the last two years, Roberts says he’s ready to do what is best for the team in 2019.

The manager shared his thoughts on a question he’s been asked all too frequently.

I’m not losing faith and confidence — and I’ve been very outspoken in support of Kenley — but I will say this, and I said this at the beginning of my tenure is that my job is to do the best thing for the Dodgers and not one individual player.

So as we kind of kick the can down the road, there’s a point that yeah, you’ve got to be productive and be consistent and get outs… my loyalty has to be to the Dodgers.

Roberts went on to add that he’s “leaving it open ended” and that he “doesn’t think it’ll get to that point,” but this marks a bit of a change in his usually unwavering support of his closer.

In a season where Jansen has a career high 8 blown saves and an ERA pushing up near 4, Dave has to seriously consider the bigger picture for the team, the fan base, and most importantly himself. While he did ink a 3-year contract extension last off-season, there’s no telling what could happen if the Dodgers fail once more in October.

While his status is likely not close to being in question, coming up short three times in a row may deserve that questions be asked.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

10 Comments

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  1. Since Spring Training the word was about the bullpen. Maybe the FO was thinking about the remodeling of the actual bullpen, and not the pitchers in the bullpen? If that be the case, then, great job!

  2. In Kenley’s last outing his command was poor, his velocity was poor, and his movement was poor. But Roberts will leave him in until he finally manages to get 3 outs. Kenley needs to be removed promptly from the game when it is obvious he does not have it.

    • Agreed, and I’d go one step further. Don’t even decide after he puts the first batter on base, whoever would replace him is warming up with Kenley and make the decision in the bullpen which one goes in. Because by the time you see which Kenley comes out it could be too late!

  3. I have to agree, when Kenley is not throwing at least 93mph and has no movement (and I’m sure Honeycutt can see this from the bench) then he needs to come out. Listen I bleed blue, always have, and always will, I’m not here trying to make anyone look bad, but if Roberts is for the team then what the hell is going on?

  4. Maybe Roberts is more sophisticated than we give him credit for. He continues to send Jansen out there and adamantly supports him publicly when he fails. Beneath the surface he knows Jansen can’t be relied on anymore but is allowing Jansen to fail so, as today’s article indicates, when Roberts chooses another closer when the heat of the playoffs is on, he’ll be able to look Jansen in the eye and say, “I gave you plenty of opportunities. I have to do what’s best for all of us.” I have been very critical of Roberts’ handling of Jansen in the past but his statement today is encouraging.

    • I will believe it when I see it. Because if they fail again to win the WS, I really believe he would be replaced. We have another manager waiting next to him…

  5. Take Dave Roberts out., also super Rick Honeycutt. Take out Barnes, Ricky Martin, and trade easy out Taylor. Pitchers, Kelly, Meada, Jensen…..

    • That’s funny. But don’t throw “Ricky Martin” out, let him sing the National Anthem! And hey, Robin, keep posting…but keep your day job!

  6. For the upcoming playoffs, I hope Dave Roberts has learned from the last two season failures: 1). Don’t remove a starting pitcher who is pitching a great game, just because he might have hit 100 pitches or is about to see the batting order a third time through. 2). Don’t bring in Jansen for more than a 3 out save. 3). Don’t pitch Jansen in back to back games. He doesn’t have the arm strength to endure this. 4). Let’s start playing our postseason lineup now, so they can get into a grove and are ready. We need to have strong bats throughout the playoffs. We can do this!!!!

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