Dodgers reliever's number change reignites Kenley Jansen trade rumors

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

The Dodgers seem to be big believers in revisiting greatest hits. This offseason, on top of all of the new acquisitions, they also re-signed 2023 Dodgers Jason Heyward, Ryan Brasier, Joe Kelly, Kiké Hernández, and Clayton Kershaw on one-year deals. A little bit of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it,' perhaps.

But could they be flirting with the idea of reaching back further to replay a now-long-gone greatest hit?

Back in January, Jon Heyman speculated that longtime Dodger Kenley Jansen could be a target again for LA during the offseason, as the Red Sox were attempting to shed payroll and the Dodgers were hesitating (for some reason) to call Evan Phillips their closer outright. Of course, Jansen stayed in Boston and Phillips is the Dodgers' closer in everything but name, having pitched 11 2/3 innings (with 10 of 12 appearances in game-finishing scenarios) with an 0.77 ERA in relief.

However, Heyman set off alarms again on B/R Walk-Off, when he doubled down on his belief that Jansen would be a Dodger once again this season. A few days later, Blake Williams observed that newly recalled reliever Nabil Crismatt had changed his jersey number to 70 from 74, which has been Jansen's number throughout his career.

Kenley Jansen-Dodgers speculation finds new life after Nabil Crismatt changes number to free up 74

Jansen hasn't really found his groove with the Red Sox since signing with them in 2023 (though he was the only Red Sox to get an All-Star nod that year), but it also wouldn't really make sense for the Dodgers to trade for him despite their bullpen woes. He's a less effective closer now than Phillips, and although they could move Phillips earlier in games, they'd then be more vulnerable in endgames with Jansen, who is battling a career-worst walk rate through nine (7.45) so far this year. Walks are also an Achilles heel of the existing Dodgers bullpen.

The best solution to the Dodgers' bullpen woes is most likely internal, but they haven't managed to stay committed to any one reliever to give things any chance to stabilize. Looking outside the organization to Jansen would just mean taking $16 million more onto the payroll and displacing their current closer (who could be one of the best in baseball) instead of letting pitchers already within the club develop.

Jansen would be best left in Boston, but again — the Dodgers seem to like replaying the greatest hits.