UPDATE – 1:42PM (Pacific Time)
Dodgers decided they’re going to keep both Jansen and Turner. Jansen agreed to terms on a five-year, $80 million deal and are on the verge of signing Turner to a four-year, $64 million deal.
This time of year in baseball really means one thing: new faces in new places. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that Kenley Jansen returns to the Los Angeles Dodgers as their closer in 2017. This is coming on the heels of news that the Miami Marlins have offered Jansen $80 million dollars over five years to come to South Beach.
Did anyone notice at the Winter Meetings this past week that Los Angeles was ‘in’ on players but nothing really materialized? There may be good reason for this. The Dodgers were reported to be in serious amounts of debt. As soon as this news broke, it was obvious that they weren’t going to be able to retain their All-Star closer and their starting third baseman, Justin Turner.
This puts the Dodgers at odds with one of the star players, and forces them to choose between the bat and the closer.
Turner had a career-year just at the right time. In his age 31 season, he hit 27 home runs and drove in 90 runs while hitting .275 and providing that mid-.800 OPS that you want in a bat in the middle of the order. Turner is one of those guys who can be expected at least over the next few seasons to earn the money he will be paid in terms of being a 3 to 5 WAR player, while providing excellent leadership within the clubhouse. He’s a likable guy and from Southern California.
I’ve long been a fan of Kenley Jansen, and he’s the all-time Dodgers franchise leader in saves at 189. He has posted an astonishing 2.20 ERA over the course of his career and was named an All-Star last season. He figures to land a five-year deal and should remain a dominant arm until the tail end of that contract.
That said, I think the right move for the Dodgers here is to re-sign Turner and let Jansen walk if they can’t come to some type of unexpected and creative agreement that allows them to keep both players.
It’s much tougher to find a key cog in the middle of the order than it is to develop a flame-throwing closer – as they did when they found Jansen at the ripe young age of 17 out of his home country Curacao.
It will be interesting to see how things play out in Los Angeles, but look for them to follow what I said and re-sign Turner while letting Jansen head into South beach.
You can follow Clint on twitter @Diamondhoggers or visit his home site about baseball, Diamondhoggers.com.
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