The Los Angeles Dodgers have a tall task ahead of them this offseason as they have key players who are free agents and will be highly sought after. One of those players is closer Kenley Jansen, who was among the best closers in baseball this season.
Jansen was rewarded for his strong year, earning the first All-Star Game selection of his career, and being named the winner of the 2016 Trevor Hoffman Award, which is presented to the National League’s best relief pitcher.
Jansen is not the only closer on the market however, as flame throwing Chicago Cubs lefty Aroldis Chapman and Washington Nationals closer Mark Melancon are also free agents. Unlike Jansen, Chapman and Melancon were not eligible to receive the one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer.
Each of the closers is expected to shatter the four-year, $50 million contract Jonathan Papelbon received in 2011. It holds as the largest contract signed by a relief pitcher.
In a survey with MLB executives, many of them believe that Jansen will provide a better value than Chapman and Melancon, via Jerry Crasnick of ESPN:
1. Which free-agent closer — Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman or Mark Melancon — will provide the best value for the contract he’s likely to command?
Responses: Jansen 19; Melancon 11; Chapman 6; no response 2.
Jansen converted 47 saves with a 1.83 ERA and 0.67 WHIP. He finished tied for second in the Majors in saves, and led qualified NL closers in WHIP and strikeouts (104).
In 11.2 innings over seven playoff appearances, Jansen allowed four runs and had 19 strikeouts. He threw a career-high three perfect innings against the Cubs in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.
Chapman and Melancon both had successful seasons as well. Between the New York Yankees and Cubs, Chapman had 36 saves with a 1.55 ERA, while striking out 90 in 58 innings pitched.
Melancon also played on two different teams this year, beginning with the Pittsburgh Pirates and ending with Washington Nationals. He had a combined 47 saves with a 1.64 ERA.
Multiple teams, including the Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Yankees, have reported interest in Chapman and Jansen.