A Reliable Closer
Kenley Jansen has been the closer in LA for a long time. “California Love” was synonymous with a win for the Dodgers for the longest time, and yet that all changed in the postseason in 2017. Since then, Jansen really has looked worn down, and for the first time, he looked overmatched a lot of the time in 2019.
Roberts and the front office obviously do not trust him anymore either, and Jansen did not look too happy to be throwing his first pitches of Game Five in the tenth inning down by four runs.
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Thus, it remains to be seen whether or not Jansen will be the closer in 2020, and it is fairly certain at this point that his contract will be allowed to expire at the end of the year.
So who can replace him without actually wresting the closer role from the popular Jansen completely? Certainly it would be hard to bring in an outsider with closer experience because clubhouse chemistry certainly does matter.
Maybe an in-house option would work better then, though certainly dealing for a rental reliever like Keone Kela or Kirby Yates or even Brad Hand could make sense.
From inside the current clubhouse, Kenta Maeda and Dustin May both could be intriguing closers. If May takes on the Sale role, Sale closed eight games in his 2011 stint in the bullpen, and if he and Maeda both closed five to ten games that would be enough to keep Jansen from being overworked and also would make it so that high leverage innings for the postseason could be more equitably spread.
With the early NLDS exit though one thing is for certain, change needs to occur for the Dodgers to bring home a ring, and it cannot be just minor tweaks either.