Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen was the only player left eligible for arbitration after Clayton Kershaw signed his record-breaking extension and A.J. Ellis settled on a one-year deal last week.
The 26-year-old was scheduled for an arbitration hearing for February 18, but was still open to negotiate with the team until then. At the time arbitration figures were filed, Jansen asked for $5.05 million while the Dodgers filed at $3.5 million.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the two sides reached an agreement today:
kenley jansen settled at $4.3M for ’14, avoiding arbitration. #dodgers
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 11, 2014
Jansen began last season as the setup man to Brandon League before taking over the closer job in June due to League’s struggles. He finished the season with a 1.88 ERA and 28 saves in 75 appearances for the Dodgers. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 111 batters in 76.2 innings, an average of 13.0 per nine innings. Jansen is heading into his fifth year with the Dodgers after moving from catcher to pitcher in the minor leagues. In his four seasons, Jansen has a 2.10 ERA with 62 saves and 347 strikeouts in 222.1 innings of work. Heading into 2014, he’s the team’s official closer; however, he’ll be closely followed by Brian Wilson for that spot.
The Dodgers have four pitchers in their bullpen with experience as a closer and Jansen will have to continue his dominance on the mound in order to keep his job. He struggled a bit in the postseason last year, allowing two runs and five hits in two innings against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. That doesn’t include the game-winning hit he allowed to outfielder Carlos Beltran in Game 1 of that series.
With Jansen signed, the team has a full 40-man roster and avoided arbitration cases that can sometimes cause rifts between player and organization. Jansen and the rest of the pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch on Saturday and will be joined by the rest of their teammates on Thursday when position players are expected to report.
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