Dodgers Free Agent Rumors: Kenley Jansen Wanted 3-Year Contract & Closer Role

After the Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated by the Atlanta Braves in the 2021 National League Championship Series, manager Dave Roberts acknowledged the possibility — if not reality — his roster would look dramatically different this year.

That largely was in reference Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw, both of whom had only played for the Dodgers heading into free agency. Then when Roberts was speaking with reporters days before the start of Spring Training, he said it would be “very strange” to not have either pitcher in camp.

Of course, Kershaw wound up re-signing with the Dodgers for the 2022 season. Jansen, however, remained a free agent as Spring Training games got underway. That changed Friday evening when he signed a one-year, $16 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.

According to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times, Jansen had been looking for a three-year contract and maintaining his role as closer:

Jansen, 34, seeks a three-year contract and a guarantee to close games.

Throughout the offseason there had been little reported interest in Jansen, both prior to and since the MLB lockout. The Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays were said to have held preliminary talks with the 34-year-old.

The Dodgers indicated there was an openness to re-signing Jansen, but they presumably were not interested in a three-year deal or the type of salary he received due to adding Freddie Freeman on a $162 million contract.

Jansen had been part of the Dodgers organization since he was signed as an amateur free agent out of Curacao in 2004. After struggling with inconsistencies over parts of the past two seasons, he posted a solid 2.22 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 1.04 WHIP with 38 saves across 69 appearances last year.

Jansen is the Dodgers’ all-time saves leader with 350.

Who will replace Jansen as Dodgers closer?

Although Jansen had been with L.A. for the entirety of his career up to this point, the team appears to be in strong position to move forward without him.

L.A. no longer has a clearly defined closer, but their roster allows for any combination of Phil Bickford, Brusdar Graterol, Daniel Hudson, Blake Treinen and Alex Vesia to fill the role.

Roberts had already suggested the Dodgers would likely rely on a closer-by-committee approach if Jansen was not re-signed.

The last time Jansen was a free agent, he re-signed with the Dodgers on a five-year, $80 million contract following the 2016 season.

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