After opting for free agency, Curacaoan star closer Kenley Jansen has signed a 5-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal is reportedly worth $80MM.
During the season, Jansen did not want to talk about a contract extension but as the end of the season neared, the Dodgers didn’t hide their intentions to go after Aroldis Chapman. During the off season, Jansen was linked to several clubs. Even the Yankees would have made him an offer. In the past week, the rumors got stronger that only two clubs would be in the running for him: The Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals.
After Aroldis Chapman was signed by the Yankees, he even turned down a higher offer from the Nationals, the Dodgers did not have many other options. With Chapman setting the tone, it was expected that Jansen would be looking for a similar deal. Despite higher offers from the Nats and the Fish Jansen still opted to stay home in Los Angeles according to league sources. Jansen’s deal is the second largest after Chapman’s $86MM deal.
In 71 appearances, Jansen recorded 47 saves in 53 save opportunities. He posted a 1.53 ERA with a WHIP of 0.67 and he kept his opponents limited to a lowly batting average of .150.
In 2009, Jansen was still catcher in the Dodgers organization.with the Inland Empire 66ers. With the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Jansen sat behind the dish for the Netherlands. Shortly thereafter the Dodgers started their, what turned out to be a succesful, experiment to convert Jansen into a pitcher.
On June 20, Jansen became the all time leader in Dodgers’history, passing Eric Gagné ‘s record of 166 saves. Jansen finished the year with 189 saves. His 632 strikeouts as a reliever also passed Jim Brewer’s club record of 604.
2016 was a succesful year for Jansen as he earned himself an All Star Game appearance and he was awarded the Kevin Hoffman Reliever Award.
Kenley relies heavily on his cut fastball that he uses for 92% of the time. But next to this cutter, he also masters a couple of other pitches: slider (7.6%), curveball (0.1%) and a change up (0.3%).
This signing with the Dodgers may be a very good omen for team Kingdom of the Netherlands and the upcoming World Baseball Classic. If Jansen would have signed with another club, he might have wanted to prove himself during spring training and might have passed on participating. Now he stays with the club that knows him so he doesn’t have anything to prove so he can join the Dutch with the 2017 edition of the WBC.