Kenley Jansen didn’t have his best year with the Braves, but part of that is because he’s set the bar so high as one of the best closers of all time. He still led the league in saves with 41, finished the season with a 3.38 ERA, and when it mattered most, he looked like the version of Kenley Jansen that dominated for so long with the Dodgers. The Braves have already said they would love to have him back, but there will be plenty of teams interested in the 35-year-old’s services, including potentially his former team.
For years, the Dodgers featured an elite bullpen, but they experienced some hiccups this past season, particularly in the ninth inning. The version of Craig Kimbrel that played for the Braves is long gone. He’s been incredibly inconsistent ever since he was traded to the Padres. There’s been some really good and really bad, and the Dodgers got the really bad version of Kimbrel. He’s now set to test free agency, while the Dodgers search for a new closer.
Sometimes you don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone. Dodgers fans loved to criticize Jansen, but they sure could have used them this past season, and I imagine they may look to reunite with him this winter.
I would love to have Jansen back in Atlanta to pair with Iglesias in the eighth and ninth innings. That combination was deadly in September and October, but if the Dodgers get involved, the Braves won’t be able to outbid them. And Jansen isn’t ruling out a return to Los Angeles.
When asked about his looming free agency by TMZ — and a potential Los Angeles return — Jansen smiled and answered.
“We’ll see what’s out there,” Jansen said.
However, Jansen did have fond things to say about his time in Atlanta. “I can tell you all great things about Atlanta. Atlanta is awesome. The fans, the people, the organization. I had a great time there, and we had a great season.”
I recently gave my odds that each Braves free agent returns. For Jansen, I gave him a 33% chance of remaining in Atlanta. I think it was a mutually beneficial relationship, but the Braves do have bigger fish to fry this offseason, and it does make a lot of sense that the Dodgers would target him.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire