Dodgers Sought to Trade OF for Reunion With $32 Million Fan Favorite: Report

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts likes his bullpen, but the team did discuss a Kenley Jansen trade.

Getty Dodgers manager Dave Roberts likes his bullpen, but the team did discuss a Kenley Jansen trade.

The Dodgers finally made a move on veteran outfielder Manuel Margot last week when he and his $10 million contract were shipped to Minnesota (with 20-year-old third baseman Rayne Doncon), with the Dodgers taking back prospect Noah Miller, a shortstop. The impetus to trade Margot was the return of popular utilityman Kike Hernandez, but the Dodgers had some intriguing conversations around Margot even before that.

One, as reported by’s Juan Toribio, involved the Boston Red Sox, who are eager to move on from a player with whom Dodgers fans have ample familiarity: Closer Kenley Jansen, who has been the subject of trade speculation for months as Boston seeks to unload the second half of his two-year, $32 million contract.

Despite ample discussion on the rumor mill, the sides never got all that close to a deal, and it was not previously known what the contours of a move would look like.

“At one point in the offseason, the Dodgers engaged with the Red Sox on a possible swap that would’ve sent Margot to Boston in exchange for longtime Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen,” Toribio wrote. “Those discussions never progressed past the initial stages and fizzled out pretty quickly into the process, sources told”

Dodgers Bullpen Could Be a 2024 Strength

A trade remains an intriguing possibility, as Jansen is still sitting on the Red Sox books, mostly unwanted. The Dodgers like their bullpen entering the season, but this team has never been afraid to take a swing on adding more depth, and a familiar face like Jansen would be welcome.

After a rocky start to 2023 among the relievers, L.A. stabilized the bullpen and leaned heavily on Evan Phillips last season in the closer’s role. He logged 24 saves in 27 tries, and posted an impressive 2.05 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP in 62 appearances.

Last month, manager Dave Roberts said that Phillips will again get most of the save opportunities, but also said he would not be confined to the closer’s role.

“I definitely don’t think it’s going to be like it was last year,” Roberts said, per

“I think with Evan, what he did in that role, he did a very nice job. I wouldn’t say committee. It’s a good conversation. I don’t think we need to make it right now. I do see Evan doing the brunt of the closing of games. But I still believe it’s prudent to kind of keep that door open where if there’s opportunities in the eighth inning where I think he’s the best option to help us win a baseball game to do that.”

“So I’m going to have a conversation with him. But I think our bullpen is going to be a position of strength for us.”

Kenley Jansen Would Welcome an L.A. Return

As for Jansen, he has admitted to being frustrated by his situation in Boston. He spent 12 years in Los Angeles, with 350. He is two years removed from leading the National League in saves, when he recorded 41 with the Braves in 2022, and was an All-Star for the Red Sox last year, registering 29 saves and a 3.63 ERA.

But with the Red Sox cutting payroll and likely headed to a last-place finish again in the A.L. East, Jansen expected to be dealt. He might have to wait until the trade deadline—and don’t be surprised if the Dodgers come calling then.

Jansen would more than welcome a return to L.A., where his family still lives.

“It is tough,’” Jansen on the Fenway Rundown podcast with Sean McAdam and Chris Cotillo of MassLive. “But you just gotta block it out and not search for it. (The way I ignored was to) spend time with my family.

“Now it’s become a little bit harder again because now my family’s over there (in Los Angeles) and I’m here (in spring training). You just gotta learn how to block it out and come here, do my work. As of right now, I’m still in Boston and whatever happens, happens.”

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