Former Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is one of the many current free agents unable to sign a new deal due to the MLB lockout. The Dodgers all-time saves leader has been linked to the Dodgers and the Phillies, but he’s highly unlikely to sign with a LA rival who’s in need of a quality reliever.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Jansen is not on the St. Louis Cardinals radar despite their bullpen needs.
“I have not been able to connect the Cardinals to Jansen. Before the lockout began, the Cardinals spoke with just about every agent about just about every reliever, so at some point they would have explored what Jansen is looking for — if that’s just to back to the Dodgers, or something else from another team.”
Goold’s reasoning isn’t that the Cardinals don’t view Jansen as a valuable reliever. Rather, Kenley might be out of the Cardinals price range.
“Jansen, meanwhile, could land a three-year deal worth as much as $40 million, perhaps even more, and there is no way the Cardinals would be able to afford that.”
Jansen is coming off his best season since 2017. Kenley logged a 2.22 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP while recording 38 saves. He ranked 11th in ERA and 10th in WAR (1.8) among relievers with at least 60 IP in 2021.
Kenley did not blow a save opportunity in the final two months of the 2021 season.
Jansen’s New Pitch Mix
Much of Jansen’s success in 2021 came from successfully integrating his secondary pitches into his pitch mix. Kenley threw his signature cut-fastball just 58% of the time, the lowest mark of his career. Conversely, he used his slider (15.4%) more than ever and continued to mix in his sinker (26.5%).
Similar to the evolution of his former teammate Clayton Kershaw, Jansen has had to rely on other pitches as his cutter loses velocity.
Where Jansen ends up is anyone’s guess, but apparently he won’t be pitching for the Cardinals anytime soon.
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