The Atlanta Braves announced the signing of Kenley Jansen to a one-year contract on Friday night, less than eight hours after Los Angeles Dodgers finalized their deal with Freddie Freeman.
Both players spent the entirety of their careers with their former organizations up to this point. Jansen was signed as a 17-year-old international free agent and remained with the Dodgers through his age-33 season, while Freeman was drafted by the Braves out of high school and stayed in Atlanta through his age-31 campaign.
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 his teammates who helped make his time in Dodger Blue so memorable.
Although it was reported throughout the offseason that Jansen was unlikely to re-sign the Dodgers, that was also tied to indications he was looking for a multi-year contract.
The Dodgers were said to have interest in retaining Jansen, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated the right-hander would remain the closer if he did sign. However, it was presumed to come at a pay cut.
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.
Along with his two Trevor Hoffman awards, the 34-year-old was also a three-time All-Star and 2020 World Series champion.
Who will replace Jansen as the Dodgers closer?
Although retaining Jansen would have been beneficial for the Dodgers, the team is still in a good place without him.
L.A. no longer has a clearly defined closer, but their roster allows for any combination of Phil Bickford, Brusdar Graterol, Daniel Hudson, Blake Treinen Tommy Kahnle and Alex Vesia to fill the role.
Roberts had already suggested the Dodgers would likely rely on a closer-by-committee approach if Jansen was not re-signed because of the value Treinen brings in the fireman role.
If the Dodgers do end up going with more defined roles, Hudson may be the favorite due to his experience closing and their desire to keep Treinen pitching in any high leverage spot they need him in.
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