Longtime Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen left Los Angeles in free agency last offseason, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jansen led the National League with 41 saves in 2022, but his ERA and other underlying stats made for the second-worst season of his career, better only than 2019.
Jansen is a free agent once again, and there are rumblings that he might be heading back to the west coast.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 19, 2022
San Francisco’s bullpen was a weak spot in 2022, with only Camilo Doval really standing out. Having a bullpen where only the closer stands out might seem like a strange time to pursue a closer, but Doval’s skillset might be better served as a fireman-type reliever, pitching the late innings against the toughest matchups, than as a dedicated closer.
Jansen, who turned 35 at the end of September, spent 12 years in L.A., including the last 10 as their closer. He was a fan favorite on the mound, but he was also a lightning rod for criticism as he morphed from dominant, lights-out closer to scary, tight-rope-walking closer. When the Dodgers won it all in 2020, it was Julio Urias, not Jansen, who closed out the deciding games of both the NLCS and the World Series.
Jansen to the Giants would definitely add some spice to the Dodgers/Giants rivalry. San Francisco already has Joc Pederson, who accepted their qualifying offer last week and will be back for at least one more year. The two teams don’t face each other at Dodger Stadium until June 16-18, but we can already picture the scene as Kenley emerges from the visiting bullpen wearing the dreaded black and orange road uniform. Gross.
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