Kenley Jansen: Leaves the Dodgers
Just some transparency here: I am one of the biggest Kenley Jansen fans that you will meet. When Dodger fans started to turn against Jansen and expected him to regress, I was right there in his corner, preaching about how he was still a valuable closer.
He proved that in 2021 with another great season. He had one rough stretch in July that accounted for most of his runs during the year. In fact, it was the last time that Jansen allowed a run all season.
Jansen finished with a 2.22 ERA, a 1.043 WHIP and an 11.2 SO/9 rate. He was even better in the postseason, throwing seven scoreless innings with three hits, one walk (intentional) and 14 strikeouts.
While I want to take a victory lap about Jansen, I also have to realize that he is likely not going to be a Dodger in 2022, for two reasons.
First (and more importantly), Jansen is going to get big money from another team in free agency. Teams that lack a true closer will see his numbers and offer him a three-year deal worth a pretty penny. He probably won’t get the five-year, $80 million deal he got from the Dodgers in 2016, but he should get something around three years, $40-45 million.
There is no way the Dodgers offer that. Not only do they have to pay players in other areas, but this is a front office that is analytically driven and is not likely to pay a closer that much. Heck, the previous contract they gave him was reportedly an ownership call. If the front office was against paying Jansen that much in his prime, do we really think they will open up the checkbook while he is 34?
The second reason (and this might be looking into it too much) is the fan relationship with Jansen. There is no way he didn’t see everything that fans said about him, and he definitely heard them when they booed him at home. If I’m Kenley, I don’t want to return to LA.