Should Dodgers Try to Lock up Kenley Jansen While They Can?

When the 2016 season ends, the Dodgers will have some questions to answer with their pending free agents, just like any other year. The biggest one this upcoming off-season will almost surely be closer Kenley Jansen.

Although it’s still a ways off, should the Dodgers be attempting to lock him up sooner, rather than later?

We all saw what happened when the Dodgers couldn’t re-sign Zack Greinke last year before he was able to opt out of his contract at season’s end. It opened up plenty of more options with different teams, which ultimately led to his departure. If the Dodgers’ intent is to indeed keep Jansen around after this year, perhaps trying to negotiate an extension sometime soon would be more advantageous.

This is, of course, assuming they’re adamant on bringing him back and are willing to give him the big payday that he’ll be in store for.

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Since the new front office took over, it’s no secret they have an agenda for everything. Even with deep pockets in L.A., Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi bring over experience with the small market mindset, and have shown a desire to get the most “bang for your buck” when it comes to free agent signings.

That’s not to say they’re not willing to fork out big salaries as they see fit, but so far, they’ve stayed away from outlandish spending. Their first two full off-seasons didn’t see any big name signings, and although they apparently offered Greinke a sizable contract, they didn’t budge when it came to adding on that 6th year, which made all the difference.

So, what about Jansen? Do they value him enough to spend the money it will take to bring him back?

A lifetime Dodger since his debut in 2010, Jansen has been one of the best closers in the league over that span. He’s also been one of the few consistent bright spots in a Dodgers rotation that’s been somewhat shaky over the last few seasons. His last four years stats break down as follows:

2012: 25 Saves, 2.40 ERA, 13.7 K/9

2013: 28 25 Saves, 1.99 ERA, 13.0 K/9

2014: 44 25 Saves, 1.91 ERA, 13.9 K/9

2015: 36 25 Saves, 2.14 ERA, 13.8 K/9

He’s also seen his SV% rise each year, peeking last season at a 94% successful Save conversion rate. So far this season, Jansen has continued to dominate. Entering play today, he’s converted 9 of 9 save opportunities and just gave up his first run of the season Friday, raising his ERA to 0.84.

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Certainly by his numbers alone, one would assume the Dodgers would like him back. But perhaps they believe the cost would be too high. Maybe the thought is that there’s other options available, and that kind of money would be better used elsewhere.

If that’s the case, who would the Dodgers turn to? The current alternatives on the Dodgers roster leave something to be desired. Pedro Baez? No thanks. Yimi Garcia? Naw. Chris Hatcher? Absolutely not. While all those guys could show improvements as they progress in their career, it’s probably not an ideal situation to rely on them as your closer by next year.

But maybe the Dodgers will look to bring someone else in. There’s plenty of good relievers on the market next year, including Aroldis Chapman, who the Dodgers already tried to trade for before the start of this season. But considering the circumstances around Chapman that prevented the trade from happening in the first place, it’s probably unlikely the team would pursue him again. And other than Chapman, I don’t think there’s another closer as good as Jansen on the market.

Of course, whether or not Jansen returns is not solely the Dodgers decision. He will also have a say in the matter, and the aforementioned Chapman saga may have not helped any. After the news broke about the pending trade, early reports hinted that Jansen wasn’t very happy about it. No one knew exactly how the Dodgers intended to use that combo, but having two premier closers would have presented some interesting questions, and may have caused some discontent for whoever was not closing out games.

There’s still plenty of time before now and season’s end, and even if the Dodgers don’t strike a deal with Jansen before then, it doesn’t mean they have no shot in the off-season. With that said, if they really want him back in 2017 and beyond, it might behoove them to act sooner, rather than later. And let’s hope that’s the case. With so many other possible questions facing the roster, it would sure be nice to not have to worry about the closer role. And with Jansen, we usually don’t.

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Brian Robitaille

Originally from Southern California, and currently stationed in Northern Virginia, Brian is a devoted Dodgers fan, and has been since he was a kid. He's an Active Duty member of the U.S Air Force, and has been serving for the last 16 years. While he loves all things sports related, and supports all his teams (Lakers, Steelers, L.A Kings, & USC) his true passion is the Dodgers, and loves writing about the boys in blue.


  1. Brian, when have this FO did anything right? Mostly all of the productive players that we have on the roster and the ones that we look at to soon contribute were here before they came. When at Tampa they benifited by one, not having any pressure on them, and secondly always being at the top of the draft because they were so sorry when he took over. This is LA, and eventually you’re expected to be proactive. What does he expect? Jansen will see this as he does. It’s about business. I thought that they should have locked him up before the year started. He and Kershaw deserves all that they can get. If Chapman has a good year do you think that he’ll be cheap? Personally, I thought that Chapman could and would except a challenge as a starter. But these geeks never think out of their small box. Let Jansen go and see how Dodger Nation will turn on them.

  2. I agree, I’ve been skeptical of many moves by them so far. Personally i don’t think they really care if he comes back, unfortunately. Friedman has shown he likes to go cheap on relievers so we shall see. I will definitely be disappointed if they let him walk.

  3. I agree with you Robert.these jerks won’t sign him. The pitching staff is littered by their outlandish spending. They won’t spend $12/15000 on jansen but will spend $15/18000 on a pitching staff of has been and injury plagued starters on the injury list.

  4. BCRobitaille Can it get any worse?  Yes and this FO will show us the formula. At least Ned Colleti tried, but he was running uphill. I see this team getting progressively worse year by year. Freidman acts as if he’s running on a Semi Pro budget. Time Warner, Dodger Nation, and the ownership group will eventually lose faith in this guy. TW spent their big bucks expecting big things. And if they are like me, they’re wondering where is the beef.

  5. I’ll be as straight forward as I can be about resigning Kenley Jansen sooner than later: SIGN HIM. GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS. YOU CANT DO BETTER WITH HIS NUMBERS.

  6. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows Friedman will let Janson walk and then argue the Dodgers will use their “depth” to fill the void.
    And next year’s team will be even worse.

  7. Its not like Jansen is going to make it easy for the Dodgers front office to sign him either. Not after Friedman pissed him off for trying to bring in Chapman in the off season. Jansen will wait until the offseason to take bids and the Dodgers will have lot of compitition like they did for Grienke. The only suitable replacement for Jansen would be Chapman. I just hope Friendman doesn’t choke again by missing out on both Jansen and Chapman just like he missed out on Price and Grienke.

  8. Arodc03 I basically agree with you.  Jansen probably wont seriously entertain Dodger offers prior to the end of the season.  Why should he?  One thing I know for sure is that Friedman could easily misplay this whole affair.  Hoping for the best cuz that’s all I can do.

  9. Blue58 You could be right, but I’m not as certain as you.  IMO Jansen is worth the price he will demand.  He fits our program well, which is something none of us know about Chapman or anyone else for that matter.

  10. If the Dodgers wanted to keep Janson they could have signed him to an extension over last winter. He was willing but they never made an offer. All the signs are that he will be pitching elsewhere in 2017.
    They will look for a closer from within the organization: Montas, Garcia, Baez, Cotton or someone else.
    But having Greike and Janson wall is just the beginning. Kershaw can opt out after the 2018 season and will, barring injury. If Friedman still is in power, Kershaw will not be resigned, I predict.

  11. Blue58 You may be right.  Good luck Dodgers with getting a quality closer from within, especially those you’ve listed.  I see this whole thing as a very important key in any baseball organization.  Look at Jansen’s stats.  Unbelievably good.

  12. I assume the front office will continue with their current strategy:

    Step 1 – Lose established superstar
    Step 2 – Attempt to replace said superstar with 3-4 guys coming off surgeries for cheap and pray one of them works out.
    Step 3 – Lose more games then the previous season, distracting fans with Magic Johnson’s smile and fairy tales about our amazing farm system.

    FU Guggenheim.

  13. Those are impressive stats for Jansen over four years.  Don’t let him get away FO.

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