Kenley Jansen ‘Not Mad’ Dodgers Replaced Him With Craig Kimbrel

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With one week remaining in Spring Training, the Los Angeles Dodgers addressed a significant question mark in their bullpen by trading AJ Pollock to the Chicago White Sox for Craig Kimbrel. The eight-time All-Star filled the void at closer that was left by Kenley Jansen signing a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.

Jansen had been part of the Dodgers organization since he was signed as an amateur free agent out of Curacao in 2004. While his preference was to remain with L.A., their signing of Freddie Freeman and luxury tax threshold implications made a reunion unlikely.

Although Jansen has moved on to the next chapter in his career, he is still keeping tabs on his former team. The right-hander was surprised when the Dodgers traded for Kimbrel but understands why president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman made the move, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

Jansen preferred to stay in Los Angeles but said he shrugged off the disappointment, though he admitted he found it strange watching Craig Kimbrel close out the Dodgers’ win Friday on television. “I’m not mad,” Jansen said. “Why would I be mad? Knowing Andrew [Friedman], he does everything he can to help his team with in a championship. [Braves general manager] Alex Anthopoulos is the same way. Andrew tried. I can’t be mad.”

Prior to acquiring Kimbrel, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated the team was comfortable with relying on a closer by committee approach for the start of the 2022 season. However, adding an established closer to the roster was a priority as it allows Blake Treinen to remain in the preferred fireman role.

After posting a solid 2.22 ERA with 38 saves for the Dodgers last year, Jansen has gotten off to a slow start with the Braves. He allowed three runs in his 2022 regular season debut against the Cincinnati Reds.

Jansen has since bounced back with three consecutive scoreless appearances, with the last two being saves.

Dodgers contract offer to Jansen

With interest in re-signing Jansen, the Dodgers reportedly were the only team willing to provide him with a multi-year contract.

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