Is Kenley Jansen’s injury holding back Red Sox in trade talks?

2024 Boston Red Sox Spring Training
2024 Boston Red Sox Spring Training / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Even as rumors of the Boston Red Sox trying to trade Kenley Jansen have swirled, the closer had to report to spring training on Feb. 14.

Since Jansen's arrival at Fort Myers, an injury has surfaced that will keep him from throwing for a short while. Chief baseball officer Craig Breslow said in a media availability that the 36-year-old will be sidelined with "general" lat soreness.

Jansen's injury has raised questions among Red Sox Nation and fans of the other clubs that may be targeting him in trade discussions. The Dodgers and Phillies have emerged as top candidates for the veteran.

Buzz surrounding Jansen's injury has been mixed. Some fans have suggested that he's being sidelined to make sure he heals properly so he can still be traded. Others hope it's for longevity purposes and maintenance down the line.

But some fans have seen the injury as a negotiating chip. An injury revealing itself while Jansen is the subject of trade discussions was never going to help his value. Jansen's lat soreness could also be what's been holding up the trade if a trade is actually being stalled — rumors have circulated about Jansen being traded for weeks, but talks escalated in the weeks leading up to spring training. Taking on a potentially injured, 36-year-old closer for $16 million probably isn't high on any team's list of priorities.

Alongside all the speculation from fans and reporters, Jansen has said the injury isn't serious and that he expects to be back on the mound soon.

“I’m fine. It’s just precautious,” Jansen said to Christopher Smith of MassLive. “I’ve been doing this for a while now. You just don’t want to go out there. You want to make sure you’re 100%. Make sure everything is fine.”

Red Sox Kenley Jansen experiencing lat soreness that could be stalling trade discussions

According to Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic, a trade involving Jansen hasn't been close, so his sidelining could truly be precautious. Since trade discussions have been far from complete, Boston may be banking on having to keep Jansen, and if that's the case, they will ensure he's 100% healthy before he starts throwing again to avoid setbacks that could hurt his value at the trade deadline.

For now, Jansen is a member of the Red Sox and he could be throwing for the team "in a week," in his own words. The injury presents Boston's front office with an opportunity to realize it doesn't need to shed his salary and that it can potentially sign top talent anyway, as fans have been begging the team to do for months.

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