Kenley Jansen has signed a two-year, $32 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, per Jeff Passan. Jansen will turn 36 next season but has shown that he still has what it takes to be a closer in the league. He brings much-needed reliability to the backend of the Red Sox bullpen. Boston’s pen finished in the bottom five of ERA in the league, and improving in that aspect has been a focal point in the offseason so far.
Jansen is coming off a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. After spending the first 12 seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he got a fresh start in with the Braves. Jansen finished with 41 saves which were the most in the National League, and second by one to only Emmanuel Clase of the Cleveland Guardians, who led the majors. Jansen struck out 85 batters in 64 innings of work. He did have a 3.38 ERA and seven blown saves on the year, but still brings a better option to the Red Sox bullpen.
In 2021, Boston lacked a pitcher that took over closing duties. John Schreiber, Matt Barnes and Tanner Houck all finished tied with eight saves. Garrett Whitlock had six, while Matt Strahm had four. At the very least, Jansen should get the first shot at closing for the Red Sox, who will try to hang in a very competitive AL East.
When it comes to fantasy baseball, Jansen should have some value. Boston may not give him as many save opportunities as other teams, but Jansen should at least have a clear closing role. Coming off league-leading save numbers, Jansen should be selected in fantasy baseball drafts, but his higher ERA pushes him back to the later 19th-20th rounds.