Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen enters spring training in 2016 much healthier than last year, when he was recovering from foot surgery.
Jansen in 10 words or less
The best closer in Dodgers history.
Will the Dodgers keep Jansen beyond 2016?
Jansen is one of the best closers in the game, and if he and Aroldis Chapman hit fee agency after the season it figures to be the best closer market in baseball history. Instead of negotiating a long-term extension with the 28-year-old converted catcher, the Dodgers instead signed a one-year deal with him to avoid salary arbitration.
"Obviously it’s tough to comment about contract negotiations," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "But I think it’s well documented how we feel about Kenley, just who he is , what he does on the field and he’s been a big part of our past success and we’re hopeful he will be a big part of our future success.
"I just focus on the baseball part," Jansen said. "My whole thing is I want to win. I'm here with this organization right now, and they've been great for me my whole career. I'm proud to wear this Dodgers uniform. But at the end of the day I'm just focusing on winning games and hopefully winning a championship, and the rest will take care of itself."
Jansen struck out 80 of his 200 batters in 2015, reaching the 40-percent mark for the first time since 2011. But he walked just eight, with his 4-percent walk rate just under half of his career mark.
"I feel like I've matured more. I started pitching in 2009, so there haven't been a lot of years," Jansen said. "Each year I feel like I'm getting better. Each year I feel like my control is getting better. I just continue to focus and work hard and try to get better each day."
One number20 With 142 saves, Jansen ranks second in Dodgers history, 19 behind franchise leader Eric Gagne. Jansen has had no fewer than 25 saves in each of his four seasons as closer.
Jansen's four seasons with 90 or more strikeouts in relief (2011-2014) are the most in franchise history. There have only been 20 such seasons in Dodgers history, and the only other pitchers with multiple years of 90-plus strikeouts are Eric Gagne (three times), Jonathan Broxton (three) and Jim Brewer (twice).
Jansen will make $10.65 million in 2016, avoiding salary arbitration with a one-year deal. He will be eligible for free agency after the season.
|2016 projections: Age 28 season|
I think Jansen heads into free agency with a typically strong year, surpassing 100 strikeouts for a third time while putting up a 2.32 ERA.
Be sure to enter your 2016 predictions in the comments below.