The Boston Red Sox and closer Kenley Jansen have agreed to a $32 million contract for two years. This will help the Red Sox’ bullpen, which ranked among the worst in baseball in 2022.
After 12 successful seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, 35-year-old Jansen signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2022. His 391 career saves rank second among active players and eighth all-time. He held the lead in the National League with 41 saves.
Jansen had a 3.38 earned run average in 64 innings with the Braves, striking out 85 people and walking 22. Jansen is one of the most effective closers in history, with 1,107 strikeouts in 769 innings and a 2.46 ERA over his career.
After a dominant performance with the Dodgers, in which he walked one, struck out 34, and posted a 1.46 ERA, Boston had already added to its bullpen by signing right-hander Chris Martin to a contract worth $17.5 million for two years.
The 2022 Red Sox bullpen had the fifth-worst ERA in baseball, 4.59, and Matt Strahm, a left-hander, was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies via free agency on Tuesday. It is anticipated that right-hander Garrett Whitlock will move into the rotation after being utilized in situations requiring high leverage relief during the final three months of the season.
Boston’s warm up area, with Jansen, Martin and right-hander John Schreiber, could be impressive as the group attempts to paw out of last spot in the American Association East.
The Red Sox had missed out on a number of free agent targets, so a lot of their previous postseason efforts had been in vain: Zach Eflin (righthanded), Tyler Anderson (lefthanded), Andrew Heaney (lefthanded), and Tommy Kahnle (righthanded).
Sources say that the Red Sox are still after shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who opted out of the final three years of his contract and is being pursued by the San Diego Padres and others. As Jansen enters free agency for the first time in his 10-year career, he is anticipated to command a contract close to $200 million with Bogaerts, with whom he competed for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
The Red Sox currently anticipate having a payroll of approximately $175 million as a result of the Jansen deal. As they add depth to a roster that lacks a shortstop and starting pitcher, sources said they are likely to sign a few free agents.
The Red Sox are hopeful that incumbent closer Tanner Houck, who underwent back surgery in August, will be ready for spring training.