Boasting the Majors’ best record and the largest division lead of any contender in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers evidently don’t have many weaknesses on their roster.
However, an inconsistent bullpen has plagued them at times this season, and the struggles can be evenly spread to a handful of relievers. Kenley Jansen, for instance, is in the midst of arguably his worst statistical season since debuting in 2011.
Entering Monday’s series opener against the Colorado Rockies, Jansen is currently sporting the highest ERA (3.67) and second-worst FIP (3.37) of his career. He has accumulated 0.0 WAR, per Baseball-Reference, which additionally represents a career-low.
Despite his overall struggles this season — especially as of late — manager Dave Roberts made it clear he doesn’t intend to remove Jansen from the closer role, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Despite Jansen’s lessened effectiveness, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said there would be “no change” in how he uses him.
After a relatively solid first half in 2019, Jansen has struggled mightily since coming out of the All-Star break. In five appearances during the second half, Jansen has posted a 7.20 ERA and 2.00 WHIP over five innings pitched, blowing one of three save attempts in the process.
The 31-year-old nearly squandered a three-run lead in his most recent appearance against the Washington Nationals. After quickly recording the first two outs, Jansen struggled with his command and consequentially loaded the bases by yielding a single, hit by pitch and walk.
Jansen then issued another walk, allowing the Nationals to chip away at the deficit. However, he was able to rebound and struck out Howie Kendrick with the bases still loaded to solidify the Dodgers’ 4-2 victory.
Jansen, aware of his struggles, previously noted that he isn’t focused on his mechanics and simply wants to recapture his old attitude again.
With the July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaching, Jansen revealed that he is open to the Dodgers acquiring another closer in the coming days. He previously voiced a similar sentiment when Craig Kimbrel was a free agent, though made it clear the signing should not lead to Jansen losing his role.
L.A. has been linked to a trio of potential additions in Shane Greene, Brad Hand and Will Smith. With each of those relievers likely staying put on their current teams, the Dodgers have expanded their search to include other closers.
The Dodgers are among a handful of contenders interested in acquiring New York Mets right-hander Edwin Diaz, though their No. 1 target is reportedly Pittsburgh Pirates lefty Felipe Vazquez.
While it remains to be seen if he is dealt, Keibert Ruiz has been a focus of the Pirates. The top catching prospect reportedly would need to be included in a potential trade package for the Dodgers to land Vazquez.