Believe it or not, Dodgers fans have been some of the most privileged fans in baseball over the last few years. Unlike most teams in Major League Baseball, the Dodgers have been fortunate enough to have a lockdown ninth inning man who they could rely on year in and year out. That man is Kenley Jansen, the 2016 Trevor Hoffman award winner.
The Trevor Hoffman award is handed out each year the the National League’s best reliever. In what may be his last year in Dodger blue, Jansen finished the 2016 season tied with Mark Melancon for the second most saves (47) in all of baseball behind only Mets closer Jeurys Familia (51). He also led all of baseball in postseason saves (3), including a gutsy three inning performance in game 5 of the National League Division Series.
The only problem with all of this is that Jansen is now a hot commodity. With only one other elite closer hitting free agency (Aroldis Chapman), Jansen will no doubt be pursued by every team in baseball who can afford his services. Jansen won’t come cheap though. In fact, both Jansen and Chapman are expected to land record breaking contracts for relievers, topping Jonathan Papelbon’s 4-year/$50 million contract signed in 2011. The big question becomes whether the Dodgers will be one of the team’s involved in the bidding war?
Although it is obvious that the Dodgers bullpen will be in serious trouble without Jansen, Friedman & Co. has shown that there is a limit to how much they will spend on any given player. Last offseason was a prime example of this. Even when everyone in baseball felt that the Dodgers would never let Zack Greinke sign with another team, they let him walk when the Arizona Diamondbacks made an offer that the Dodgers felt was higher than his worth.
Be assured that the Dodgers will be aggressive in their pursuant of Jansen, just don’t expect them to go crazy. Also don’t expect Jansen to give Los Angeles a hometown discount. As much as we would all love to see him back in Dodger blue, it might be a good to get used to the idea that he be pitching against the Dodgers in 2017.