How can the Blue Jays improve their bullpen?
A Dodger Stalwart
Since becoming the full-time closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, there hasn’t been a more dominant 9th inning option in baseball than Kenley Jansen. He has 341 saves since 2012, a career 13.05 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched, while also picking up 19 postseason saves, a 2.13 ERA as well as a World Series ring in 2020.
There were some concerns in 2018, 2019, and 2020 that Jansen might be on the decline as he posted the first three seasons with an ERA above 3.00, but in 2021, the 34-year-old Jansen sipped from the fountain of youth as he finished second in the league with 38 saves, while lowering his ERA back down to 2.22.
It was a roller coaster ride for the Blue Jays bullpen in 2021 and they certainly will be looking at adding some relievers this offseason.
There is certainly a degree of risk involved with signing a reliever like Jansen with his age and those three straight mediocre seasons from 2018-2020 still relatively fresh, but if he can build off of a strong 2021 campaign, he could make a lot of sense for the Blue Jays.
The major case for looking at Jansen over Raisel Iglesias is that Jansen was not eligible for a qualifying offer from the Dodgers and thus would only cost the Blue Jays money, instead of both money and draft pick compensation.
All that being said, it’s still hard to envision Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins going multiple years for an older reliever like Jansen who has had some red flags pop up in his profile over the past few years, including a career-high 4.7 walks per 9.0 innings pitched this past season for the Dodgers.