Dodgers News: Kenley Jansen Inspired By Clayton Kershaw
Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw and Will Smith celebrate after a Los Angeles Dodgers win against the Colorado Rockies
Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

Although Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has exercised plenty of financial restraint during his time leading the front office, he did commit to Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner in the same offseason.

After the Dodgers were eliminated from the 2016 National League Championship Series, Friedman moved to re-sign Jansen and Turner. Jansen, who was coming off a dominant and inspirational showing in the postseason, inked a five-year, $80 million contract.

The deal called for the closer to have an opt-out clause after the 2019 season. That has since come and gone, and Jansen — as expected — opted into the remaining two years and $38 million.

Jansen’s decision came after what he deemed the most difficult season of his career. Through the struggles he continued to lean on Clayton Kershaw as a source of inspiration, per SportsNet LA

“Kersh is a big part of what pushed me. The pitcher who I am today is by watching him, seeing what he’s doing, just being close to him and watching how he works. It’s not just consistent of being out there and getting guys out, it’s the consistency of get his work done, working out, lifting weights, all the stuff that he does, study hitters. That’s stuff people might kind of get away from or not want to do. He is so consistent with that stuff. When you see a guy like that, it’s gong to motivate you to push yourself.”

Kershaw, who signed a three-year, $93 million contract extension last November, experienced his own struggles in 2019. He began the season on the injured list because of shoulder trouble and while productive at times, still had rocky stretches.

Whereas Kershaw figures to remain a key member of the starting rotation next year — even if overpassed by Walker Buehler as the staff ace — the future is not quite as clear for Jansen. Friedman has voiced confidence in the 32-year-old but stopped short fully committing to Jansen as closer.

When previously discussing his once-dominant pitchers, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts drew a parallel between the struggles Kershaw and Jansen encountered. He posited Jansen could learn from Kershaw in the sense of adapting to diminished velocity.

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!