Kenley Jansen, one of the best closers this game has ever seen (yup, believe it!), is a free agent at the moment, and last we heard before the lockout commenced was that the Los Angeles Dodgers weren’t interested in bringing him back.
That came from a trusted Dodgers insider, too. And it wasn’t all that surprising. Were the Dodgers really going to spend big to keep Jansen despite losing Corey Seager and Max Scherzer while facing an uncertain future with Clayton Kershaw?
Then again, is it worth it to lose an integral bullpen piece when your bullpen already needed considerable help with Jansen in the fold? Apparently, if you’re to trust another Dodgers insider, the team wasn’t keen on letting that happen.
A new report suggests there was an effort to retain Jansen prior to the lockout, despite the Marlins rumors, but time ran out.
Here’s what David Vassegh said on AM 570 LA Sports, via the Dodgers Nation YouTube channel:
"“The Dodgers do want [Jansen] back. They were trying to work towards a deal before the lockout, but unfortunately did not happen. I certainly would not rule out Kenley Jansen returning to the Dodgers bullpen this season.”"
Vassegh made some other good points too. Jansen battled COVID at the beginning of last season and still turned in one of his best campaigns in years. Back before the 2019 season, he underwent a heart procedure. That ended up being his worst professional season … but it was still pretty damn good (3.71 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 80 strikeouts and 33 saves in 63 innings).
Doug McKain of Dodgers Nation also made a good point about Jansen’s previous comments that came before he signed a five-year, $80 million contract back in 2017.
Like Kershaw, Jansen is a team legend and there should be minimal struggle between the two sides to get a deal done. Jansen deserves a handsome salary for his body of work, but we’re sure he’s willing to take “less” in order to help the team address other areas of need following a number of departures and injuries.
But if it doesn’t work out with the team he’s spent his entire career with? Of course he’s going to take the most money possible on the open market … especially if he’s going to a non-contender or an inferior team. If he doesn’t, then what’s the point of free agency?
Nonetheless, though we’re still not fully sold on his return to LA, it’s good to know another source heard differently in regard to a reunion, because losing an overwhelming amount of this current core would be tough to cope with in 2022.