Dodgers Dugout: A fond farewell to Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and to paraphrase Richard Nixon, you won’t have Kenley Jansen to kick around anymore.

Jansen, the best closer in Dodgers history, signed a one-year, $16-million deal with the Atlanta Braves.

According to Jorge Castillo’s excellent story, the Dodgers were one of the few teams willing to offer Jansen two years, but, after signing Freddie Freeman, “the Dodgers wanted Jansen to wait until they shed payroll before signing to keep their payroll under $290 million and avoid the resulting 90% tax rate for exceeding the competitive balance tax line for the second straight season.”

So, rather than wait for the Dodgers to get their payroll in order, Jansen took the one-year deal the Braves were offering.

“I started to feel that the Dodgers had to make stuff happen,” Jansen said. “And, at the same time, you got to deal with the reality of what’s best for you and your family.”


Jansen grew up a Braves fan.

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Jansen fell out of favor with some Dodgers fans the last couple of years. His last elite-level year was in 2017, when he had 41 saves, a 1.32 ERA and gave up only 44 hits and seven walks in 68 1/3 innings while striking out 109. He finished fifth in Cy Young voting. His numbers declined some since then, but only look bad in comparison to his previous years. He lost his closer role during the 2020 playoffs, but regained it last season and, with the exception of a brief meltdown during the season against the Giants (the last team you want to melt down against if you are with the Dodgers), he was solid last season.

Yet the reaction by many on social media has been to cheer the fact he is no longer a Dodger, which is a ridiculous attitude to take. The fact is the Dodgers wouldn’t have been as successful as they have been in recent years without Jansen. And though at times people (including the guy who writes this newsletter) called for him to be demoted out of the closer role, now is not the time to gloat. Now is the time to reflect back on a tremendous Dodger career.

When Jansen returns to Dodger Stadium this season, he deserves nothing less than a lengthy standing ovation.

And you never know. It’s only a one-year deal. Who knows where he might sign in 2023. The Dodgers? Anything is possible.

So who is the Dodgers’ new closer? Dave Roberts says he has no plans to name a closer, going with more of a closer by committee. However, you would have to expect Blake Treinen would get the majority of save opportunities.

Let’s take a look at where Jansen ranks on the Dodgers’ leaderboard.


Jansen, 350
Eric Gagne, 161
Jeff Shaw, 129
Todd Worrell, 127
Jim Brewer, 126
Ron Perranoski, 101
Jay Howell, 85
Jonathan Broxton, 84
Takashi Saito, 81
Clem Labine, 81

Blown saves

Jansen, 45
Jim Brewer, 43
Jonathan Broxton, 33
Todd Worrell, 33
Ron Perranoski, 31
Tom Niedenfuer, 26
Jeff Shaw, 25
Steve Howe, 25
Mike Marshall, 25
Clem Labine, 23

Strikeouts per 9 IP (min. 500 IP)

Jansen, 13.05
Eric Gagne, 10.38
Walker Buehler, 9.92
Clayton Kershaw, 9.79
Kenta Maeda, 9.79
Sandy Koufax, 9.28
Hideo Nomo, 8.87
Zack Greinke, 8.29
Chan Ho Park, 8.28
Darren Dreifort, 8.27

Walks + Hits / IP (Min. 500 IP)

Jansen, 0.928
Clayton Kershaw, 1.004
Walker Buehler, 1.006
Zack Greinke, 1.027
Kevin Brown, 1.100
Andy Messersmith, 1.105
Sandy Koufax, 1.106
Eric Gagne, 1.111
Don Sutton, 1.123
Rube Marquard, 1.127

Games in relief

Jansen, 701
Jim Brewer, 456
Ron Perranoski, 456
Clem Labine, 388
Jonathan Broxton, 386
Charlie Hough, 385
Pedro Báez, 355
Ed Roebuck, 321
Tom Niedenfuer, 310
Tim Crews, 277

Trevor Bauer update

The administrative leave for Trevor Bauer was extended until April 16, meaning he can’t take part in any official baseball activities but will continue to get paid while MLB continues to investigate his case. Remember, just because no charges were filed against Bauer does not mean he can’t be suspended. They were unable to talk to Bauer while the lockout was on. You would have to figure some sort of decision is coming soon.

Bauer poll

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Welcome aboard

The Dodgers signed free-agent pitchers Danny Duffy and Tyler Anderson. Duffy was acquired before the trade deadline last season, but never pitched for the Dodgers because his elbow injury was more severe than anticipated. He gets $3 million this year, with an option to receive $7 million in 2023. He won’t be available to pitch until June because of the injury.

Anderson signed a one-year, $8-million deal. He is left-handed and had a 4.53 ERA in 31 starts last season with Pittsburgh and Seattle. He has been a league-average pitcher in his career, with a career ERA+ of 100.

And farewell

The Dodgers traded outfielder Luke Raley to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitching prospect Tanner Dodson. Raley hit .182/.250/.288 for the Dodgers last season, striking out 25 times in 66 at-bats. Dodson is a 24-year-old right-hander who had a 4.86 ERA in double-A Montgomery last season.

The Dodgers also put infielder Sheldon Neuse on waivers and he was claimed by Oakland. Neuse hit .169/.182/.323 for the Dodgers last season in 33 games.

40-man roster

A look at the current 40-man roster:

Pitchers (26)
Tyler Anderson*
Trevor Bauer
Phil Bickford
Justin Bruihl*
Walker Buehler
Garrett Cleavinger*
Danny Duffy*
Caleb Ferguson*
Tony Gonsolin
Victor González*
Brusdar Graterol
Michael Grove
Andrew Heaney*
Daniel Hudson
Andre Jackson
Tommy Kahnle
Clayton Kershaw*
Dustin May**
Jimmy Nelson**
Darien Nuñez*
Evan Phillips
David Price*
Blake Treinen
Julio Urías*
Alex Vesia*
Mitch White

*-left-handed, **-on 60-day IL

Catchers (2)
Austin Barnes
Will Smith

Infielders (9)
Jacob Amaya
Freddie Freeman
Eddys Leonard
Gavin Lux
Max Muncy
Edwin Ríos
Trea Turner
Justin Turner
Jorbit Vivas

Outfielders (7)
Matt Beaty
Cody Bellinger
Mookie Betts
Zach McKinstry
James Outman
AJ Pollock
Chris Taylor

Players on the 60-day IL do not count against the 40-man roster, which leaves the Dodgers a couple of players over the limit on the official roster on their website.

Stories you might have missed

Dodgers’ Chris Taylor feeling better after offseason elbow surgery

Braves GM insists his tears over losing Freddie Freeman to Dodgers were real

Hernández: Cody Bellinger says he’s still an MVP-type player. He has another chance to prove it

Closing out an era: Dodgers reflect fondly on Atlanta-bound Kenley Jansen

Freddie Freeman’s Dodgers contract includes $57 million in deferred payments

‘All bets are off’: The inside story of how the Dodgers lured Freddie Freeman home

Commentary: Angry about Dodgers signing Freddie Freeman? Take it up with your owner, not ours

And finally

The Freddie Freeman introductory news conference. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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