And just like that, all is right in Dodger camp. Word came down on Tuesday the Dodgers and Kenley Jansen agreed to a 1-year, $4.3 million deal that allows the two sides to avoid arbitration.
Jansen had asked for $5.05 million, while the Dodgers offered $3.5 million. The midpoint was $4.275 million, which is a “win” for Jansen.
Jansen’s arbitration hearing had been scheduled for Feb. 18, but it was widely believed the two sides would come to an agreement before that time. No one really likes going to arbitration to let an independent third party determine the value of a player (just watch for the fireworks from Cincinnati with Homer Bailey). It was obvious the Dodgers and Jansen wanted to get this done sooner rather than later.
Jansen gets a raise from the paltry (by baseball standards) $512,000 he made last season. He has established himself as one of the best closers in baseball and is worth every penny of his new deal. Considering what the Dodgers are paying Brandon League and Brian Wilson (at least he’s good), Jansen is an absolute steal.
It’s likely the team will continue to go year-to-year with Jansen, as relievers are the the most volatile baseball players. A long-term extension would be nice, but it might not be prudent at this point. That isn’t a knock on Jansen’s ability by any means. It’s a commentary on relievers in general. But don’t worry, Jansen is still three years away from free agency.
Provided Jansen stays healthy, the Dodgers figure to have one of the best bullpens in the majors and one of the franchise’s best since the days of Takashi Saito–Jonathan Broxton, or even Eric Gagne–Guillermo Mota.
With the deal, the Dodgers avoid going to their first arbitration case since 2007, and push their projected payroll north of $260 million.