Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen made history on Monday night when he converted his 162nd save in a 4-1 victory over the Washington Nationals, passing Eric Gagné for the most saves in franchise history.
Gagné was not at Dodger Stadium to witness the achievement, but he did call to speak with Jansen after the game to congratulate him on the feat. The former Dodgers closer then drove up from San Diego to be in attendance for a pregame ceremony dedicated to Jansen on Tuesday.
“It was just a matter of time,” Gagné said of Jansen breaking his record. “He is the best closer in Dodger history.” Gagné reiterated that stance during the on-field ceremony where Jansen was presented with a framed shadowbox that included mementos from his big night.
Gagné won the National League Cy Young Award in 2003 when he recorded 55 saves. He converted 152 saves from 2002-04, finishing with no less than 45 saves in a single season during that span.
Jansen debuted with the Dodgers in 2010 and recorded four saves, then only five saves the following season. However, he took a leap forward in 2012 by converting 25 of 32 save opportunities.
Jansen then replaced a struggling Brandon League in July 2013, and has been the Dodgers’ unquestioned closer since. Jansen recorded a career-high 44 saves in 2014, and also averaged a career-best 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings that season.
The Curacao native missed the first 34 games in 2015 as he recovered from offseason foot surgery. He finished the year with 36 saves, a 2.41 ERA, 2.14 FIP, 0.78 WHIP and 80 strikeouts to eight walks in 52.1 innings pitched.
Jansen is tied for third among all closers this season with 21 saves. His 1.48 ERA is superior to the New York Mets’ Jeurys Familia (3.09 ERA) and Miami’s A.J. Ramos (1.78), who are ranked first and second in saves, respectively.
After avoiding arbitration with the Dodgers a second consecutive year, Jansen is eligible for free agency this offseason.