- Tim Burke
Red Sox Sign Kenley Jansen
The 2022 Boston Red Sox bullpen was one of the worst in baseball. Red Sox relievers blew 28 saves last season and had an ERA of 4.59, the second-worst in the American League. Boston's bullpen was so bad in 2022 that it cost them several games. Thankfully, the Red Sox have made several acquisitions to bolster their bullpen with Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin, but their most significant need in the bullpen was to find a closer. Thankfully they have addressed that need. Boston will no longer use the closer-by-committee strategy as they have signed Kenley Jansen to a two-year contract worth 32 million.
Jansen has the reputation of being one of the best closers in the game. In 2017 Jansen finished fifth in Cy Young voting and is currently eighth all-time in saves. Jansen could potentially end his career third all-time in saves and be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Throughout his career, Jansen has averaged 68 appearances per year while pitching in the playoffs every year since 2013. In the postseason, Jansen has thrown 65 innings in 59 appearances while recording a 2.20 ERA and striking out 94. That is a lot of mileage. Nowadays, Jansen will get himself into unnecessary jams or will have a bad outing. Other times he looks like the dominant closer he was in his prime. Despite his inconsistencies, he is still one of the game's most effective closers.
In 2022, Kenley Jansen appeared in 65 games for the Atlanta Braves with an ERA of 3.38 while striking out 85. Jansen also recorded 41 saves, the most in the National League. His 16 million dollar AAV on his new contract with the Red Sox is not the most team-friendly contract in the world, especially for an aging relief pitcher. However, this Free Agent market is thin, and the Red Sox paid the price for the best available reliever. The Jansen signing also fills a team need and solidifies the back end of the Boston Red Sox bullpen, which has been a major question mark for several consecutive seasons. Is Kenley Jansen the pitcher he was throughout his career with the Dodgers? No. Will he give Red Sox fans a few headaches over the next few years? Yes. But Jansen will be a reliable presence in the Red Sox bullpen. It may not be pretty, but he always does his job closing out games. In the last three seasons, no relief pitcher has recorded more saves than Kenley Jansen. By signing Jansen, the Red Sox signed the most experienced and accomplished closer of the past decade. This is a good signing by the Red Sox. Welcome to Boston, Kenley Jansen.