Red Sox free-agent target – CP Kenley Jansen
Ever since future Hall of Famer Craig Kimbrel departed after 2018, the Red Sox have searched for their next great closer. Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes showed flashes of being that guy, but each collapsed when given an extended look at the ninth-inning role. With Aroldis Chapman in New York, Liam Hendriks in Chicago, and Ryan Pressly in Houston, the AL is filled with elite finishers that the Red Sox simply can’t compete with.
Signing Kenley Jansen, however, would completely shift the balance of power. Jansen has been arguably the most consistent closer in baseball over the last ten years. From 2011 to 2017, Jansen posted a ridiculous 2.16 ERA and saved 32 games a year. He was still great over the following three years, but his ERA slipped to 3.38, and his K/9 dropped from 14.0 to 11.0. As he entered his age 33 season, many began to believe that Jansen’s best days were behind him.
The 2021 season would silence those doubters. Over his last 27 2/3 innings, Jansen allowed just two runs and converted all 16 save opportunities. He continued dominating right into the postseason, tossing seven scoreless innings and punching out 14. He looked like the Kenley Jansen of old, as even his cutter and sinker velocities returned to 2017 levels.
Like Freeman, Jansen will likely cost a pretty penny to bring to Boston, and it’s unlikely the Dodgers would let him go. But if the Red Sox are serious about competing over the next few years, they would finally bring in the big-name closer they have been missing.