Recently it's been reported the Boston Red Sox have been actively shopping 2023 All-Star closer Kenley Jansen.
And pitching coach Andrew Bailey's Thursday appearance on MassLive's "Fenway Rundown" podcast may have given insight into Jansen's future with the Red Sox.
Bailey said that "having a bonafide closer is awesome," but many teams don't actually need one. If that doesn't indicate the writing is on the wall, we don't know what will.
Bailey, who was a closer during his MLB playing career, further elaborated on his statements that he finds closers unnecessary. He believes they can succeed when they're set up for success by the pitchers before them. Having more pitchers who can throw in high-pressure situations and keep the score down before the ninth inning is more important than having one player who can come in for the big moment.
On one hand, Bailey has a point. If starters can't keep runs off the board from the jump, closers are obsolete. On the other hand, the no-closer system has failed for the Red Sox in the past. Many Boston fans have complained about potentially dealing Jansen and have recalled 2003's closer-by-committee system that did not work the way it was intended.
The Red Sox are likely shopping Kenley Jansen after Andrew Bailey's comments
The Red Sox also didn't have a closer in 2019, and manager Alex Cora explained why he doesn't believe they needed one.
"I think stuff is different back in the day,” Cora said to MassLive. “I don’t remember who was involved but I guarantee you it wasn’t 95 (mph) with cutters and breaking balls the way guys have now. If you take a look at bullpens now, stuff is at a premium."
Cora and Bailey may have a point when it comes to not needing a closer, but the Red Sox don't have the starting rotation (or back end of their bullpen) to make that plan work. Bailey saying that the Sox don't need a closer with Jansen still on the roster makes their plan clear.
If Boston was going to deal Jansen somewhere else, it makes sense to do it soon. He's owed $16 million next season and rumors circulated that the team told a free-agent target that they needed to free up payroll before making any further additions. Jansen is also coming off an All-Star season in Boston and his value could be higher than it would be by the beginning of the season or at the deadline.
If Boston deals Jansen, it'll have space on the 40-man roster and enough money to make the no-closer plan work ... as long as they make another impact addition elsewhere.