The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the offseason with a dozen free agents, which included franchise cornerstones Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager and Kenley Jansen, along with future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer.
It was unrealistic to expect the Dodgers to retain them all, but they were able to re-sign Chris Taylor and Kershaw. However, both Seager and Scherzer signed lucrative contracts prior to the MLB lockout beginning.
Once the lockout ended, the Dodgers added another star to their organization in Freddie Freeman, but they ultimately lost Jansen to the Atlanta Braves on a one-year contract.
The Dodgers and Jansen had mutual interest in a reunion and L.A. made an attempt to re-sign their franchise all-time saves leader, but Jansen still decided to join the Braves, per Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“Yes, of course. Talking to Andrew (Friedman), I don’t think Andrew is going to lie to me to my face. When the lockout was over, Doc, Dave Roberts texted me. It was literally over and he texted me a few minutes later and is like, ‘Are you coming back?’ I couldn’t comment on that one. But yeah, like I said, it was awesome. It was awesome. They made the moves over there, they tried to bring me back, but unfortunately I had to make a decision. I chose being with the Braves.”
Jansen had reportedly been looking for a three-year deal, which made him unlikely to stay with the Dodgers. However, after only signing for one year, it’s strange the two sides didn’t work out a new contract.
Maybe they would have been able to get it figured out in a normal offseason with more time, but as players are rushed to sign with just a few weeks left before Opening Day, Jansen decided he couldn’t afford to wait on L.A. anymore:
“Two days before I signed with the Braves, I started to feel that the Dodgers had to make stuff happen… That’s when I had to make the decision to choose someone else, and I chose the Braves.”
After struggling with inconsistencies in 2019 and 2020, Jansen pitched to a 2.22 ERA and 3.08 FIP in 69 innings while striking out 30.9% of hitters and walking 12.9% during the 2021 season. He also saved 38 games in 43 chances.
In his 12 seasons pitching for the Dodgers, Jansen holds a career 2.37 ERA in 705 innings with 1,022 strikeouts.
Jansen thanked Dodgers fans, former teammates
Jansen was signed by L.A. as a 17-year-old international free agent and remained with the Dodgers through his age-33 season.
Over that time Jansen developed into the best closer in Dodgers history by saving a franchise-record 350 games while winning two Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Awards.
After the Braves made the signing official, Jansen thanked the Dodgers organization, fans and former teammates who helped make his time in Dodger Blue so memorable.
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