As Kenley Jansen continued to be slighted from a national perspective over the past few seasons the Los Angeles Dodgers praised their closer at every turn. Now Jansen is on the verge of learning how much the Dodgers and other clubs value him.
After enduring a season marred by bullpen trouble, the San Francisco Giants figure to be one team that’s aggressive. Along with fellow marquee closers Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon, Jansen is eligible to become a free agent this winter.
He’s expected to command — and receive — a contract that exceeds the four-year, $50 million deal Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in November 2014.
Such a contract for a relief pitcher goes against Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s philosophy. Friedman, however, restated a desire to re-sign the power right-hander.
“Kenley’s had a tremendous career as a Dodger that we hope will continue,” Friedman said Monday. “He obviously set the Dodgers save record this year, he’s been a big part of our past success, we hope he’s a part of our future success. It’s well-documented what he has meant to his organization.”
Jansen’s 47 saves this season tied with Melancon and Zach Britton for second-most in the Majors. Jeurys Familia paced all closers with 51 saves. Jansen’s six blown saves were most among the quartet, though his 104 strikeouts and 0.67 WHIP were superior to Britton’s, Familia’s and Melancon’s numbers.
The Dodgers avoided arbitration with Jansen last season by agreeing to a one-year, $10.65 million contract. Los Angeles presumably will begin the free agency process by first extending the one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer.
In the event Jansen rejects that and proceeds to sign elsewhere, Friedman voiced confidence in the Dodgers’ group of relievers. “We have a lot of internal guys that we’re excited about and will help us win games next year,” he said.
“Obviously, we have work to do with augmenting around it. I anticipate it being a busy winter.”