Many folks were ready to write the three-time All-Star off after a few mediocre seasons (by his standards), but in the 2021 campaign, he was able to re-establish himself as an elite bullpen arm.
The righty is a free agent this offseason.
He didn’t sign anywhere before the MLB lockout went into effect, so once things get going again, he’ll be in the market for a home.
He should have no trouble finding one.
Plenty of big-league clubs have suboptimal bullpen situations that need to be addressed, and Jansen is capable of adding a ton of value to any given relief staff.
Here are a few teams that should target him.
3. Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels have done a nice job of improving their bullpen this offseason.
But they shouldn’t stop there.
If they were to add Jansen to the mix, they’d be flirting with a potentially elite relief core.
That’s something Angels fans haven’t seen in a long time.
Make no mistake: Jansen is capable of taking a bullpen to the next level.
In the 2021 season, he posted a 2.22 ERA across 69 appearances.
He complemented that mark with a 185 ERA+, 3.08 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, and 11.2 K/9.
Kenley Jansen, 97mph Cutter…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/4QEzy7AtES
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 21, 2021
He also has an outstanding track record which features a career ERA of 2.37 and identical FIP of 2.37.
Would he be open to the idea of staying in L.A. but changing uniforms?
Only he can answer that.
2. Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are still trying to make the MLB postseason for the first time since Bryce Harper signed with the organization.
They can’t afford to waste much more time, as Harper’s MVP-caliber years won’t last forever.
In order to compete for a playoff bid in 2022, Philadelphia’s bullpen is going to need to be much better than it was in 2021.
The staff ranked 25th in the majors last season with an ugly 4.60 ERA.
That’s not going to get the job done for any team hoping to crack the playoffs.
Some major upgrades are necessary, and to Philadelphia’s credit, the team has already made some noise (in the form of signing Corey Knebel).
But more work needs to be done, Jansen would be another great piece to the puzzle.
1. Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox definitely need to bring in some relief help this winter.
Boston’s closer, Matt Barnes, absolutely collapsed in the second half of the 2021 season.
The hope is that he’ll bounce back in 2022, but having Jansen around would add some insurance.
Moreover, the team’s setup man from a season ago, Adam Ottavino, is a free agent.
The Red Sox need to replace him.
A duo of Barnes (if he bounces back) and Jansen would make for a nice late-innings combo for Boston, no matter which role each guy ends up with.
Kenley Jansen, 94mph Fastball & 94mph Cutter, Individual Pitches + Overlay (consecutive pitches).
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 12, 2021
The team’s bullpen had a fine ERA in the 2021 regular season, but down the stretch and in the playoffs, it became clear that there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.