Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen had a memorable 2017 season, as he was named an All-Star and won the Trevor Hoffman Award, presented to the National League’s best reliever, for the second consecutive year.
Jansen has established himself as one of the top closers in all of baseball in recent years, and in fact, was ranked the best relief pitcher by ESPN heading into this season. With Jansen’s rise to prominence has come a heavy workload.
He threw 68.1 innings during the past regular season, then 16.2 more in the postseason, totaling a career-high 85 innings.
Pair that with how short the Dodgers offseason is because they made it to the World Series and played all the way into November, and it becomes evident that Jansen’s arm may not be completely ready to go by the start of Spring Training.
To combat that, manager Dave Roberts has said that he plans to ease Jansen and some of his other veterans into things during camp this year.
It’s a plan Jansen told Alanna Rizzo of Spectrum SportsNet LA he’s in agreement with, citing how long a regular season is:
“I love the opinion. It’s a long season. I believe in all of my teammates. Missing Spring Training a little bit is not that bad at all. Ease up in April, even in May, it’s not that bad. There’s still four months of a season after that. I just want to stay healthy, that’s my whole concern. I’m aware I’ve thrown a lot lately. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to buy into that plan.”
Jansen saved 41 games for the Dodgers last season, yielding a 1.32 ERA, 1.31 FIP and 0.75 WHIP with 107 strikeouts compared to just seven walks.
The 30-year-old was just as good in the playoffs, allowing three runs over 16.2 innings (1.62 ERA) while striking out 20 and walking three.