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Kenley Jansen signs one-year, $16-million contract with the Atlanta Braves

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen reacts after striking out New York Mets' Pete Alonso during a game last season.
Days after the Dodgers signed former Braves star Freddie Freeman, Atlanta signs former Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen to a one-year contract.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)
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For the first time since 2013, someone not named Kenley Jansen will be the Dodgers’ closer on opening day.

Jansen and the Atlanta Braves agreed to a one-year contract worth $16 million, the team announced Friday, officially ending his time with the Dodgers after 12 seasons.

Jansen enjoyed a bounce-back season last year. The right-hander posted a 2.22 earned-run average with 38 saves in 69 appearances following — at least by his expectations — three subpar seasons. Jansen rebounded by countering his velocity drop with a more diverse pitch mix.

Freddie Freeman says he felt hurt by how the Braves didn’t make a big effort to keep him. Kenley Jansen could probably say the same about the Dodgers.

March 18, 2022

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But the Dodgers weren’t willing to pay a premium for a 34-year-old reliever, even for one as important to the Dodgers over the last decade as Jansen.

At the peak of his powers — he was the best reliever in the majors in 2016 and 2017 — Jansen almost exclusively threw a cutter. Last season he used his slider and sinker more than ever. Recouping some of the lost velocity helped.

The Dodgers signed Jansen out of Curaçao in 2004 as a catcher. He reached the majors as a reliever in 2010 and became closer in 2012. Ten years later, he’s the franchise’s leader in saves with 350.

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