The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the official signing of free agent right-handed closer Kenley Jansen to a five-year contract. Other outlets have reported that the deal is worth $80 million.
The move was an absolute necessity if the franchise realistically expected to contend for the World Series next season, as Jansen has been the team's anchor in the bullpen over the past several years.
Jansen, 29, was named the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year and earned the first All-Star selection of his career in 2016, going 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA and a career-high 47 saves (T-2nd, MLB) in 53 opportunities. He led the Majors in opponents’ batting average (.150) and WHIP (0.67), while ranking among the National League relief leaders in ERA (1.83, 2nd), strikeouts (104, 5th) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.45, 1st).
The Curacao native also was clutch when the team needed him most, tossing scoreless relief in six of seven postseason appearances, while turning in several dominant multi-inning outings and successfully converting all three saves opportunities. In 17 career postseason appearances, Jansen has a 2.66 ERA (6 ER/20.1 IP) and franchise-record eight saves.
Overall, Jansen has a 19-13 career record with a 2.20 ERA and 189 saves in seven MLB seasons, all with Los Angeles, after making his big-league debut in 2010. Since his first full season in 2011, Jansen tops National League relievers with 591 strikeouts and a 0.89 WHIP, while ranking among the league’s best in ERA (4th, 2.31), saves (2nd, 185) and opponents’ batting average (3rd, .173).
Jansen cemented his place among the Dodgers’ all-time relievers in 2016, becoming the franchise record holder in career saves (189) and strikeouts as a reliever (632), surpassing Eric Gagné’s mark of 164 saves and Jim Brewer’s 604 strikeouts.
Jansen was originally signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent in 2004, and spent the first five years of his career as a catcher before converting to pitcher during the 2009 season.
To create room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated infielder Micah Johnson for assignment.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services