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Dodgers Rumors: Should LA Re-Sign Kenley Jansen? Who Would Be New Closer?

With Jansen continuing to build confidence in his newly refined secondary pitches along with an uptick in velocity across the board, should the Dodgers attempt to re-sign Kenley Jansen?



Kenley Jansen has hit free agency for the first time since signing a five-year, $80 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016. The franchise all-time saves leader (350) is coming off a resurgent 2021 season where he posted a 2.22 ERA, 3.08 FIP and recorded 38 saves in 44 chances.

The 34-year-old closer was especially dominant after leaving the mound to a chorus of boos at Dodger Stadium, following a blown save against the rival San Francisco Giants in late July.

After blowing his third consecutive save since the All-Star break that night, Jansen was absolutely lights out for the rest of the way. From July 23 until the end of the season, Jansen was among the league leaders in 1.17 ERA (9th), 0.72 WHIP (4th) , 2.35 FIP (15th), 36.2 K% (9th), 1.0 fWAR (4th). Opposing hitters batted just .114 against him, which was the lowest mark in the league against qualified relievers during that stretch.

Most importantly, Jansen never blew another save the rest of the way going 17-for-17 in save opportunities. Further, the dominance ‘The Big Fella’ displayed during the last two-plus months of the season carried over into the postseason, where didn’t allow a run in seven innings of work, with 14 strikeouts to just one free pass.

The two-time NL reliever of the year benefitted from a more dynamic pitch mix that saw his cutter usage drop to a career-low 58% and his slider usage increase to a career-high 15.4%. Additionally, Jansen continued to build confidence in his sinker that he threw at a 26.6% clip that served as his best put away pitch at 29.6%.

With Jansen continuing to build confidence in his newly refined secondary pitches along with an uptick in velocity across the board, should the Dodgers attempt to re-sign Kenley Jansen? Well, if they do, don’t look for Jansen to be giving LA any sort of discount.

According to AM 570’s David Vassegh, the three-time All-Star is going to follow the money in free agency.

“I could see Blake Treinen becoming the Dodgers’ closer if the price gets too high for Kenley Jansen. He is going to take the largest contract he possibly can because for all intents and purposes, this is his last opportunity at a big contract in free agency after being arguably the best closer in baseball last year. An old friend, on Mattingly, has engaged Kenley Jansen in talks. The Marlins and Jansen are in talks.”

We discuss if the Dodgers should make an aggressive offer to Kenley Jansen and how much it would likely cost to retain him. Plus, who would be the team’s new closer if Kenley Jansen signs elsewhere?

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Written by Doug McKain

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  1. Dodgers have plenty of money in the queue, having lost Seager and Scherzer, and with only upgrades needed for an already competent infield and outfield.

    Kenley could be headed to the Hall of Fame and is a true Dodgers success story, a minor league catcher converted to a relief pitcher in order to save his career. So what if he had a rough patch that seemed endless but in reality was a few weeks. He has saved the team by far more than he has blown it.

    Treinen would be a huge downgrade if made the closer. He has some periods of lights out stuff but is not anyone you can put your money on. You can put plenty of money on Kenley. He came up with Kershaw and, like Kershaw, he is meant to retire in a Dodger uniform. He even said his hope is that he can remain a Dodger.

    My hope, too.

  2. No. I think it’s time for another closer. Treinen will be just fine or better.
    The first time that Jansen blows a save, all these fans voting for him will be feeling very sorry Jansen was resigned. I don’t need any more of the heart aches I had the last two years.
    The Dodgers have other guys that can close a game or two when Treinen needs a rest like Graterol or Ferguson and the kid with the long hair.

  3. Don’t let the door hit Jansen in the ass on the way out. My great grandmother who died a hundred years ago could be dug up and her body placed on first base and by Jansen’s second pitch she would have already stole second and third base. This is the big leagues not some 2 year olds T-Ball League. The greatest thing we can do is get rid of him… the second greatest… make Treinen the closer… third best thing (in retrospect the greatest thing!) get rid of **** Dave Roberts… and fourth best thing get Freddie Freeman. In closing Roberts and Jansen deserve each other!! Also move THE BAZOOKA GRATEROL TO THE SETUP SLOT!

    Did I mention getting rid of Roberts and Jansen… oh yea… just wanted to make sure!

    • Your grandmother wouldn’t have to steal 3rd. Kenley would balk her over to 3rd as he would be concerned about her stealing the catcher’s signs.

    • The Bull pen ended up being a huge strength but was under utilized of course when it was needed most last season. The loss of Kelly and Knebel was huge and looks like the Dodgers will be forced to keep Jansen. If they don’t resign him and Kershaw they will have plenty of cap room to sign a few Friedman projects for nothing, and develop a few arms within. Jansen has been a great Dodger and I’ve always liked him, it’s really not his fault he had who he had to put him in sooo many situations where he took the rap and not his manager.

  4. Doug,
    Your site and articles are always pretty good. My answer is give him and off that thanks him for his past and future service and if he is offered more and he is truly after the biggest money then so be it.
    If that is the case then 10-20 years from now not ending his career with the team that gave him the chance of a lifetime then he will forever regret not staying just as Corey Seager will too.

  5. First, eliminate all mention that he deserves to retire as a Dodger as that gives the sentimental edge to the player when sentiment has no bearing on the future and what the player can produce.

    Secondly, the player and his agent must understand the natural drop in his ability the player will likely suffer from age and the money wanted needs to reflect that aspect.

    Third, depending on how many teams and adjusting financial offers the player is listening to speaks volumes to the amount of sentiment the player is willing to forgo/forget about while attempting to get the most money which would be of more a precedent than the closing of a career with one team.

    Would Jansen continue to be an asset for LA, sure, but the limitations showed and those that will grow must be the point of order to his monetary value. He isn’t close to what he was and won’t be again. Let another team pay him for his past performance. The more teams he listens to represent the dwindling sentiment he has to remain a Dodger for his career.

    I understand he wants as much as he can get, but that shouldn’t be a reason for the Dodgers to give it to him.

    • Why was my comment under moderation for near 7 hours while other comments were posted? Didn’t you have to read mine before posting theirs?

      • My comments get moderated for as long while other comments are posted in between. I don’t get the process either. Your original comment was spot on.

      • Even though I’ve been around for a while and be trusted with moderation after my comments are posted, the pattern I have found is that when I write a lengthy comment the system is more likely to take it to moderation for approval in advance of posting.

  6. Let’s see. He was throwing 89-91 in ‘20 and even Doc the mis-manager knew enough to replace him for the post season (even though it was just a 60 game season)
    Fast forward to 162 game ‘21 and he’s back to throwing ‘95-96 and has a resurgent season, especially
    later in the year. Contract year, 5 mph velocity increase. Late season stamina?
    Amazing how many of these contact year mega million $ players have these miraculous turn around seasons just as they’re eligible for a new pay day
    Guy gave me ulcers and I think he goes back to ‘20 numbers as soon as the check clears. Just my opinion, but I’d like to see a plan B that’s not pushing 35.

  7. Dodger management must decide if Jansen has the right mixture of intestinal fortitude and desire to win on a daily basis that will prevent any ‘slack’ periods during the long season. It must be tough to always be ready at a moments notice to face a desperate opposition and NEVER allow yourself one pitch that can maybe ‘get by.’

  8. Kenley had an amazing second half of the season, but I don’t think anyone can sustain that for a longer period. Not that he couldn’t still put up winning numbers, but he still gets me nervous when he takes the mound. The data in this article doesn’t reflect all the hard contact he gives up, and all the runners that he lets on base, as well as giving up stolen bases. I would try to retain him, but not at a premium cost. I’m comfortable with Treinen, and I’m sure AF can acquire some quality pitching to fill any voids. I think KJ is a true Dodger at heart, and he’s given his blood and sweat for the team, as well as put up with a lot of disrespect from the fans, so I wish him the best in whatever he decides.

  9. 1. It concerns me anytime a player becomes lights out just in time for a new contract.

    2. Plus it seems he is ‘lights out’ when he if FULLY rested. EG He was great in the playoffs, but only threw 7 innings.

    He’s good, but due to the above two points, I think his price tag will be more than he’s worth.

  10. Definitely re-sign Kenley! He’s got the heart of a lion. Never on IL (other than heart issue). And I think Treinen is overrated.

  11. My wife, (who is just as big a fan as I am) will scream every time he’s brought in, but I vote to keep him. He had a brief hiccup midseason, but otherwise was lights out. By the numbers, second best in Baseball, maybe the best closer. Now I admit I’m playing with house money here, so in the interests of the business of baseball, heavy on incentives or buyout for anything past a couple of years.

    And don’t forget, does the big guy want to stay here after the chorus of boos he got when he briefly faltered. He might not want to stay a Dodger. Personally I would have sat on my hands if I’d have been there, booing your own player for failing to produce is poor form. Save that for the other side.

  12. I can only add that Jansen and anyone else not yet signed may very well have a longer wait than expected because nothing takes place during this current lockout. And it appears this work stoppage won’t end anytime soon.

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