Braves: Kenley Jansen hits the IL with an irregular heartbeat, who will take over the closing role?

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As I just wrote about earlier today, the Braves bullpen could use another right-handed pitcher or two, but instead, they are losing their top option. Moments ago, the team announced that Kenley Jansen has been placed on the 15-day IL with an irregular heartbeat.

Anytime a player is dealing with a heart condition, it is going to be treated with the utmost caution. Hopefully, that is the case with Jansen, and the situation is nothing series.

It is important to note that Jansen has dealt with multiple heart issues throughout his career, beginning in 2011 when he was just 23-years-old. Most recently, he missed time in 2018 with an irregular heartbeat and was out for about a month. Obviously, each situation is different, but it’s reasonable to expect Jansen to miss at least a month this time around.

The Braves bullpen was once arguably the best unit in the league, but over the course of the season, relievers have been dropping like flies. Luke Jackson is out for the season, Tyler Matzek has been out for over a month, and now Kenley Jansen will miss a substantial chunk of the season. Thankfully, Matzek is beginning his rehab stint in the minors today, so hopefully, he will be back in Atlanta before long. However, adding relief help prior to the trade deadline is beginning to feel like a necessity.

With Jansen out, Brian Snitker has a couple of options that could fill in as the full-time closer. A.J. Minter has been one of the most reliable relievers in the league all season and has some of the filthiest stuff in the majors. He’s the most deserving option, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Snitker went back to Will Smith, who was the team’s closer all of last season. Smith and his 4.96 FIP in 2022 have no business closing games, but Snitker’s blind loyalty hasn’t stopped him from putting in Smith in high leverage situations seemingly every night. It will most likely be a closer by committee approach, but let’s hope — for our sanity — Minter gets the ball in the ninth more often than not.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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