The 2022-23 offseason hasn’t been easy for the Boston Red Sox.
They have seemingly been outbid (or rebuffed, to use a more accurate word) on every free agent target they have pursued.
They still need to re-sign shortstop Xander Bogaerts and improve several other areas, like first base and the rotation.
The bullpen, however, was one of the most pressing areas of need entering the offseason.
The unit ranked 26th out of 30 teams in ERA with a 4.59 mark.
No contending team can get too far with such a bad bullpen.
The team mitigated some of their need for relievers with their first splash in free agency.
“Closer Kenley Jansen and the Boston Red Sox are in agreement on a two-year, $32 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN,” ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted.
Closer Kenley Jansen and the Boston Red Sox are in agreement on a two-year, $32 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2022
The veteran closer had a very good campaign with the Atlanta Braves.
A Very Nice Campaign In Atlanta
In 64 innings, he had a 3.38 ERA and a 3.21 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) with 85 strikeouts.
He earned 41 saves and was a reliable reliever all year long.
He will likely be used as the ninth inning option in Boston: that has been his role for most of his career, after all.
Building a dominant bullpen requires team to go to their own minor leagues, to sign low-risk, high-upside free agents, and perhaps exploring the trade market.
Going with Jansen is, however, a nice move by Boston because they also need consistency and reliability, and he can offer that.
The unit still has a long way to go, and so does the team as a whole.
Bringing in Jansen, however, was a way to convince remaining free agents that Boston remains committed to winning in 2023.