Former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has achieved MLB history in a Red Sox uniform. On Wednesday night against another one of his former teams in the Atlanta Braves, the right-hander recorded his 400th career save.
Jansen became the seventh pitcher in MLB history to notch 400 saves, which puts him on track for a Hall of Fame bid. And if that happens, he'll be inducted into Cooperstown as a Dodger after finishing his 12-year career in LA with a 2.37 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 1,022 strikeouts and 350 saves in 705 innings.
So when the media swarmed him after the Red Sox' 5-2 victory over Atlanta, Jansen couldn't help but mention the Dodgers because of his embrace with teammate Justin Turner. He talked about the highs and lows in LA and how great it is to have JT by his side at this point in their careers.
Though Dodgers fans have largely moved on because of Evan Phillips' emergence, it's hard to deny Jansen was sorely missed in 2022 when Craig Kimbrel haunted everyone's dreams with his stress-inducing late-game appearances.
Once upon a time, Dodgers fans were sick of Jansen's tightrope theatrics in the ninth, but then Kimbrel came along and everyone immediately regretted their lack of appreciation for what Jansen was doing, despite the sometimes uneasy moments.
Dodgers fans got nostalgic when Kenley Jansen recorded his 400th career save
You still miss him a little, right? The Dodgers bullpen is still far from perfect, and there's no doubt Jansen would still be able to provide the back-end stability he did for over a decade in LA.
The Dodgers' bullpen ranks 23rd in ERA (4.35), 16th in strikeouts (136), 22nd in WHIP (1.34) and 25th in opponents' batting average (.252). Meanwhile, Jansen's witnessing a resurgence in his velocity and has pitched to a 0.77 ERA, 1.17 FIP and 1.11 WHIP with nine saves and 17 strikeouts in 11.2 innings with the Sox. And he's celebrating a monumental career milestone with former Dodgers players (Kiké Hernandez is in Boston, too).
We'd hope the overly critical fans of Jansen are willing to show a bit of remorse for their behavior. This man never really deserved to get booed, and the fact he's found continued success (led the NL in saves last year) should be a testament to who he is as a player.
And who knows? Maybe the Red Sox fall out of contention and are willing to move Jansen at the deadline (unlikely, but you never know!). What a lovely reunion that would be if the Dodgers still find themselves in a bind with their bullpen.