Dodgers Named Trade Candidate as Kenley Jansen ‘Expected to Be on a Contender’

Kenley Jansen

Getty All-Star Boston Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen could be a midseason trade candidate for a reunion with the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers spent more than $1 billion this offseason to construct a batting order led by three former MVPs and one of the deepest starting rotations in MLB.

But their moves in the bullpen were more peripheral, with the re-signing of Ryan Brasier for $9 million and of Joe Kelly for $8 million perhaps the splashiest transactions. But Jon Heyman of the New York Post has reported that a blockbuster could be awaiting the relief corps at the midseason trade deadline, as the Boston Red Sox might be sellers on their four-time All-Star closer.

“Kenley Jansen is another potential July trade piece,” Heyman wrote. “He expected to be on a contender with Boston. His old Dodgers team looks like a candidate for him.”

Kenley Jansen Has Retained All-Star Form in 2024

Jansen and the Dodgers have a remarkable history together — he is the franchise’s all-time saves leader. In 12 seasons there, Jansen maintained a 2.37 ERA while logging 1,022 strikeouts and finishing 519 games.

And Jansen has been seen as a potential trade chip throughout the offseason and into the early going of the 2024 campaign. Though he’s still owed $16 million on the second season of a two-year, $32 million deal he signed with the Red Sox, Jansen could still be pitching up to that value, even this late into his career.

“Jansen has never had a truly bad year in 14 seasons as a major leaguer,” Zachary Rymer noted for Bleacher Report. “There have been ups and downs, to be sure, but at no point has he posted a below-average ERA+… The longer Jansen continues to age gracefully in 2024, the less likely it may be that the Red Sox would have to eat some of his salary to move him in a trade.”

In two games finished for the Red Sox this season, Jansen has recorded two saves and no hits. He has walked five hitters, but given up no runs.

Though the Red Sox have a winning record at this point, it seems they are more focused on building toward the future than going for a playoff bid this season and then watching Jansen walk away in free agency. If they can get some young assets in return at midseason from the Dodgers, they would likely be interested.

Kenley Jansen Would Be a Bullpen Upgrade for the Los Angeles Dodgers

As for the Dodgers’ bullpen, it seems to be doing pretty well without Jansen at the moment. The relief corps. has an MLB-leading six saves so far, though its team 4.93 ERA is not great.

With three saves and a perfect 0.00 ERA thus far, current closer Evan Phillips seems to have a lock on the job, but Jansen might be an upgrade in a setup role. Ryan Yarbough, Kelly and J.P. Feyereisen have all given up some runs. 

“Getting Jansen back would be a bit of a calculated risk; he’s 36 and wasn’t quite as dominant for Atlanta and Boston as he was in his last year for L.A.,” Katrina Stebbins noted for Dodgers Way. “After losing out on the Josh Hader bidding, if the Dodgers are still looking for a high-leverage, veteran reliever, Jansen could be their best remaining option if the Red Sox are open to a trade and demanding more salary relief.”

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