Dodgers Rumors: Kenley Jansen rival likely not pursuing star closer
By Adam Weinrib
The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ bullpen will look a lot thinner in 2022 without a number of moves being completed.
We’ve heard this refrain time and again, and it always bakes in the departure of Kenley Jansen. Every projection sends him off to some other contender, leaving the Dodgers in the lurch/forcing them to promote Blake Treinen and vacate the eighth inning.
But … where is Jansen going, exactly? Haven’t most “smart” teams learned not to overpay for aging closers? And if Jansen isn’t going to be overpaid anywhere, why wouldn’t he settle with LA at a reasonable price tag and keep the relationship going?
According to sources, the Jansen pool got even thinner this week, with one reported option expressing no interest in or connection to a free agent pursuit.
Though the St. Louis Cardinals have long felt like a classic fringe-contender that could’ve found value in beefing up their championship experience, Cardinals writer Derrick Goold of STL Today says he has “not been able to connect” the team to Jansen throughout their offseason search.
Dodgers Rumors: Cardinals not pursuing Kenley Jansen
Hey, we connected the dots to the Cards just a few days ago, too! They’re searching extensively for bullpen upgrades, but have again made next-to-no contact with Jansen’s camp (outside of, possibly, some early-offseason check-in just to get the lay of the land).
It seems St. Louis intends to fill in their bullpen with more fungible, budget options, unlocking closers internally rather than spending for the down years of a former great (whose underlying metrics don’t exactly jive with his bounce-back 2021 season).
It’s starting to seem like Jansen is, again, more valuable to the Dodgers than any other team. LA will be without Joe Kelly, Jimmy Nelson and Corey Knebel on Opening Day, at the very least. The crosstown (LOL, laughed while typing that) Angels seemed poised to make a run at Jansen before they blew a decade’s worth of closer budget on extending Raisel Iglesias.
Who’s left? The Reds? The Tigers? The Mariners? There is no perfect fit, and the discourse all seems to be steering Jansen back to LA on a two-year, ~$24 million deal.
Consider the Cardinals all but bowed out.