Kenley Jansen served as the Los Angeles Dodgers closer for nearly a decade, but that changed last season when he signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves in free agency.
The Dodgers were interested in bringing Jansen back, but could not agree on the contract length and ultimately pivoted to acquiring Craig Kimbrel from the Chicago White Sox.
Kimbrel is the only active player with more saves than Jansen, but he struggled to find consistency and ultimately lost his closer job late in the 2022 season. From that point on, the ninth inning was a revolving door for the club, who used multiple pitchers to record the final three outs.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the role, finding an established closer would seem to be a priority this offseason. However, Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes said he is not necessarily focused on finding one, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com:
#Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes said they don't feel like they need a set closer next season. If that option presents itself, they'll pursue it, but it's not necessarily a priority.
— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) November 10, 2022
It’s hard to fault Gomes’ stance as there aren’t many difference-making relievers available in free agency. The New York Mets already re-signed Edwin Díaz to a five-year contract and the San Diego Padres also locked up Robert Suarez on a five-year deal.
If the Dodgers were to acquire a closer this offseason, it would likely have to come via trade, and it is difficult to gauge who might be on the market.
Even without a set closer currently on the roster, the Dodgers bullpen has plenty of depth and several candidates who may be capable of handling the ninth inning.
Braves free agent Kenley Jansen open to Dodgers reunion
After a solid year with the Braves that saw him log a National League-best 41 saves, Jansen is a free agent again and recently revealed he would consider returning to the Dodgers next season.
It’s not clear if the Dodgers share in that interest, but the San Francisco Giants reportedly are open to signing the right-hander.
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