Kenley Jansen, Dodgers reach $4.3-million deal, avoiding arbitration

Kenley Jansen pitching against St. Louis in last fall's National League Championship Series.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

PHOENIX — On the day he avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $4.3-million contract with the Dodgers, Kenley Jansen reflected back on how he went from a light-hitting minor-league catcher to the closer of baseball’s most expensive team.

“It goes fast,” Jansen said. “It’s unbelievable how stuff works that quick. Now, a million-dollar contract. That’s pretty awesome.”

Jansen was catching as recently as recently as 2009. That year, the Dodgers moved him to the mound. A year later, he was pitching in the major leagues. He firmly established himself as their closer last season.


Jansen was the Dodgers’ last remaining arbitration-eligible player. When the two sides exchanged salary figures, the Dodgers offered $3.5 million and Jansen asked for $5.05 million.

An arbitration hearing was scheduled for Feb. 18 and would have required Jansen to travel to Florida.

“I wanted to show my suit and tie,” Jansen joked.