1. Houston Astros
Yes, the site where the disaster all began in 2017 could be Kenley Jansen’s home ballpark. Why not, right?
The Astros aren’t afraid to spend money, and their ‘pen factory full of anonymous arms has been thinned out a bit over the past few months.
Brooks Raley is off to Tampa Bay (of course he is), and Graveman, acquired for the 2021 stretch run, signed a multi-year deal with the White Sox. Are they really going to leave Ryan Pressly alone at the back end of their ‘pen along with a bunch of swingmen? Pressly’s regression potential worries us more than Jansen’s. The Dodgers legend has a longer track record of success, and Pressly has largely matched his exceptional FIP marks since his age-29 breakout, but … he’s 33 on Opening Day. The road is swiftly reaching the end for both men, but Jansen’s sturdy build and historic career give us more of a reason to believe.
And, again, this is looking more and more like a two-year deal. We’ve yet to figure out the team that’ll go three for Jansen in the modern age. If that’s the only risk it’ll take, why wouldn’t the Astros want to take a chance and throw the Dodgers’ plans off-kilter, another form of “payback” for endless cheating chatter?
Jansen might not be a low-2.00s ERA closer ever again, especially not with 81 home games in Houston. But he’d be a boon to that back-end tandem, and the cutter still works.