After multiple years of inexplicably being snubbed, closer Kenley Jansen was one of three Los Angeles Dodgers elected to the 87th All-Star Game. Jansen entered Tuesday’s game in the eighth inning and struck out Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.
Given Jansen had a laborious appearance on Sunday, his usage in the Midsummer Classic was limited to just one batter. The power right-hander is in the midst of another impressive season, making his transition from catcher all the more remarkable.
For all of his success as closer, Jansen has yet to secure a multiyear contract. He avoided arbitration during the offseason by agreeing to a one-year, $10.65 million contract.
Jansen, who will turn 29 years old on Sept. 30, figures to cash in as a free agent this winter. According to Andy McCullough of the LA Times, executives believe the Curacao native may land a five-year contract:
Several executives suggested Jansen could receive a five-year contract, given his age and sustained dominance.
Coinciding with that, the belief is Jansen’s deal may easily surpass the four-year, $50 million contract Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in November 2014:
Which is why Papelbon’s contract is not a goal. It is, in the words of multiple rival executives, “the floor.”
Other marquee closers who have signed lucrative deals include David Robertson and Craig Kimbrel. Robertson signed for $46 million over four years with the Chicago White Sox in December 2014.
Kimbrel and the Atlanta Braves avoided arbitration in February 2014 by agreeing to a four-year, $42 million deal. Kimbrel has since been traded to the San Diego Padres, then the Boston Red Sox.
Also in 2014, Andrew Miller signed with the New York Yankees on a four-year, $36 million contract. More recently, Darren O’Day signed a four-year, $31 million deal to remain with the Baltimore Orioles.
The Dodgers pursued both O’Day and Miller during their respective days as a free agent. What may impact the market for Jansen is fellow closer Aroldis Chapman is also slated to hit free agency this winter. Los Angeles had a trade in place to acquire Chapman but backed away when a report surfaced detailing his involvement in a domestic dispute.
Jansen is tied with Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mark Melancon for second in the Majors with 27 saves. However, Jansen’s 1.16 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 51 strikeouts are all superior to Melancon’s numbers; he owns a 1.23 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 32 strikeouts.
Jansen’s marks also best New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia, who leads the Majors with 31 saves. Familia sports a 2.55 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 41 strikeouts. Jansen stated in April he would not discuss a contract extension during the season.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently said he was hopeful to re-sign the club’s all-time saves leader.