Why it might make sense to trade Kenley Jansen
Kenley Jansen is signed on a five-year deal through 2021, but this next season (2020) is an important one for trade considerations. After MLB and the Player’s Association agreed to grant full service time in 2020 whether a season is played or not, Jansen is set to become a ten-year veteran who has played at least five seasons with the same team (he has played all ten years of his career in LA).
By becoming a “10-5” player, Jansen earns veto power on any trade after this season. This means the Dodgers are stuck with him as a 33-year old bullpen arm in 2021 making over $20 million, unless Jansen agrees to be traded somewhere, or there’s reason to keep him.
Knowing the market to trade him in the future might be limited, perhaps it is time for the Dodgers to consider moving their closer before it is too late. After all, the traditional role of the closer is becoming a bit obsolete. What is most important is to identify arms who can record key outs during the late innings of games, whether that be in the 7th, 8th, or 9th innings of games. Pedro Baez has proven he can operate in that role. So has Joe Kelly, last year’s performance against the Nationals notwithstanding.
The Dodgers could also strike lightning in a bottle with young flame-thrower Brusdar Graterol, who they acquired in the deal that sent Kenta Maeda to Minnesota. It would be a lot to expect him to step into a closer role, but again, piecing together a successful bullpen is more about counting outs than assigning specific roles these days.
Blake Treinen was also added in the offseason. Someone who could step up into a set-up or closing role if he can return anything close to the 2018 version of himself, when he was un-hittable with a microscopic 0.78 ERA over 68 appearances in Oakland.