Dodgers News: Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner And 7 Others Officially Free Agents
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians took the 2016 MLB season to the final possible day, with the Cubs ending their World Series drought in dramatic fashion. And with that, players across the league officially became free agents Thursday at 6 a.m. PT.

For the Los Angeles Dodgers that equates to Brett Anderson, Joe Blanton, Jesse Chavez, Rich Hill, J.P. Howell, Kenley Jansen, Josh Reddick, Justin Turner and Chase Utley no longer being under contract.

Among their crop of free agents, the Dodgers presumably have Hill, Jansen and Turner as their priorities to re-sign.

Jansen and Turner are locks to be extended the qualifying offer. The expectation is that will be worth $17.2 million. Both will reject the one-year pact.

Jansen had 47 saves with a 1.83 ERA and 0.67 WHIP this season. He finished tied for second in the Majors in saves, and led qualified National League closers in WHIP and strikeouts (104).

The 29-year-old broke the Dodgers’ franchise record for most career saves, surpassing Eric Gagne. Jansen earned his first All-Star Game honors, was named to Sporting News’ NL All-Star team, and received the 2016 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award.

He is projected to sign a contract that easily exceeds the four-year, $50 million deal Jonathan Papelbon received from the Philadelphia Phillies in November 2014. Aroldis Chapman, Jansen and Mark Melancon are the elite closers available this winter.

Like Jansen, Turner reaches free agency for the first time in his career. Turner joined the Dodgers on a Minor League contract prior to the 2014 season, and morphed into the club’s indispensable third baseman.

In 386 games over three seasons, he hit .296/.364/.492 with 81 doubles, 50 home runs, 193 RBI and a 136 OPS+. Last postseason Turner’s 10 hits were the most ever for a Dodgers player in a Division Series and the most by a Dodger in any postseason series since Steve Garvey’s 10 hits in the 1981 World Series.

Moreover, Turner’s six doubles set a Dodgers record for most in any postseason series. This year, Turner extended his streak to 15 consecutive postseason games reaching safely, which set a franchise record.

After a successful 2015 season, Anderson accepted the qualifying offer from the Dodgers. The mutual role of the dice didn’t pan out, as he underwent back surgery in early March. He returned in August, only to be hampered by a wrist injury and blisters.

Anderson allowed 15 runs in just 11.1 innings over four games (three starts). Anderson’s lone scoreless appearance came Sept. 29 when he tossed 2.1 frames out of the bullpen. Anderson went 11-11 with a 4.18 ERA in 35 games (34 starts) across two seasons with the Dodgers.

It’s unlikely the club will re-sign the 28-year-old. Blanton represents a more intriguing scenario considering the strong season he had, but volatile nature of relief pitchers. Initially signed to work as a swingman, Blanton developed into a setup man and the Dodgers’ best reliever after Jansen.

In his first season as a full-time reliever, Blanton pitched to a 2.48 ERA, 3.33 FIP and 1.01 WHIP while leading Dodgers pitchers with 75 appearances. He threw five shutout innings with five strikeouts in four appearances during the NLDS, but struggled in the NL Championship Series.

In just three innings pitched in three appearances, the Chicago Cubs tagged Blanton for seven runs on seven hits, three of which were homers, including a go-ahead grand slam in Game 1.

After getting traded to the Dodgers prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline, Chavez appeared in 23 games. He sported a 4.21 ERA, 3.97 FIP and 1.40 WHIP, and was not part of the Dodgers’ NLDS or NLCS rosters.

With the Dodgers in needing of a starting pitcher, they turned to Hill as the answer. Once Hill managed to overcome lingering blisters, he did not disappoint, going 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts with Los Angeles.

Hill struggled some in the Division Series, but rebounded with a strong showing against the Cubs. He held the eventual World Series champions to just two hits and had six strikeouts in six innings in Game 3.

The Dodgers reportedly had interest in re-signing Hill to a multi-year contract prior to free agency beginning. Although that’s passed in some regard, Los Angeles now has an exclusive five-day window to re-sign Hill and their other free agents.

Howell exercised his $6.25 player option for 2016, and wound up falling out of favor among Dodgers left-handed relievers. The veteran appeared in 64 games, pitching to a 4.09 ERA, which was a far cry from Howell’s 2015 campaign with the club.

Aside from being a new addition, Reddick faced added pressure upon joining the Dodgers as his arrival coincided with Yasiel Puig getting optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Reddick struggled early, had some stretches of success, but overall was underwhelming over 47 games.

He hit .258/.307/.335 with six doubles, two home runs and nine RBI. Reddick may draw some interest from the Dodgers, but the team may instead elect to pursue options that will aid their struggles against left-handed pitchers.

Utley more than filled in for an injured Howie Kendrick at the outset of the season. On top of unexpectedly becoming the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman, Utley was also the primary leadoff hitter.

He finished the season batting .252/.319/.396 with 26 doubles, 14 home runs and 52 RBI in 138 games. Utley was ineffective this postseason, going 3-for-28 with two RBI, three walks and eight strikeouts over 10 games. He did deliver a go-ahead, RBI single in Game 4 of the NLDS.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the club values Utley’s intangibles, which may factor into whether or not the veteran is again re-signed.

Speaking more broadly on the Dodgers’ outlook this offseason, Friedman said he envisions scenarios where the roster is “pretty similar” for 2017.