Kenley Jansen not concerned about being last Dodgers arbitration case

Kenley Jansen
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen had a 4-3 record last season with 28 saves and 1.88 earned-run average. Above, Jansen pitches in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in game 3 of the NLCS, which the Dodgers won 3-0.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers had three arbitration eligible players last month, and have since signed catcher A.J. Ellis to a nice contract and left-hander Clayton Kershaw to a slightly nicer one.

Which leaves reliever Kenley Jansen the last one standing.

This is Jansen’s first go-around with arbitration, and the Dodgers weren’t exactly generous with the $3.5 million they filed. Jansen asked for $5.05 million.

His situation is slightly complicated because he’s never been the team’s closer for a full season. Still, he now has 62 saves and a 2.10 ERA in his three years of service time. Chris Perez, who now backs up Jansen in the bullpen, had 68 saves with a 3.23 ERA after his first three years and came out of the arbitration process with a $4.5-million salary in 2011.


Jansen, however, claims he’s not at all concerned that he’s the Dodgers’ last open arbitration case.

“I leave all that to my agent,” Jansen said. “I know what my No. 1 goal is, and that’s to get ready for the season.”

Jansen said he was staying out of direct negotiations and was focusing on preparing for the season. Unlike last winter, this time he is not coming off heart surgery and knows he will enter 2014 as the closer.

“This off-season is going better, because last year I couldn’t do anything because I was coming off the surgery,” he said.


Jansen said he was excited about the bullpen the Dodgers will have. Three former closers –- Brian Wilson, Brandon League and Perez -- will back him up.

“I have three former All-Star closers in the bullpen behind me,” he said. “It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be lights out. We have a really deep bullpen.

“I have a lot of great respect for them. They’ve been doing it a lot longer than me. Hopefully I can learn from them.”

Jansen said that he was throwing throughout January and that Monday will mark his fourth bullpen session.