Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
Before the 2021 season, many Dodger fans and the Los Angeles Dodger organization looked forward to the end of the season when the team could part ways with their longtime closer Kenley Jansen. At 33, Jansen’s skills appeared diminishing, and the Dodgers did not know if they want Jansen to close their victories. However, while the team looked for a new closer, they thought they would use Jansen as their closer. Except for a couple of days in July, Jansen was brilliant. The Dodgers need to re-sign their leader and future Hall of Famer.
Nowadays, most teams want and have closers who hurl more than 100 miles-per-hour with a probable slider. The former catcher does not throw 100+ MPH, but Jansen has 350 saves and a success rate of 87 percent. During his twelve-year Dodger career, Jansen has demonstrated his unique ability to control his adrenaline. He wanted to be on the mound instead of Julio Urías for the last out of the 2020 World Series, but the Dodger management lost confidence in Jansen in high pressure situations. During the 2021 season, he pitched angry and wanted to perform in the 2021 World Series. He never received that opportunity,.
When the Dodgers converted Jansen from a light-hitting catcher to a reliever, little did the organization know that they would have one of the best closers in baseball history. At first, Jansen worried about the movement on his pitch that he could not stop. Then, pitching coach, Charlie Hough, assured Jansen the movement on his pitches was the ticket to the Major Leagues. Jansen also developed a fastball and slider. His secondary pitches helped to have longevity in the Major Leagues. Except for a heart problem, he has not been on the IL.
In 2021, Jansen used his secondary pitches more than ever as he earned 38 saves and had 86 strikeouts. If he blew a save the prior day, Jansen’s confidence was not shaken..
As the Dodgers rebuild their starting rotation, they will need an experienced closer. While Blake Treinen has experience as a closer, he is an outstanding setup man, something that the Dodgers need also. The Dodgers should sign Jansen to a short-term contract.