Kenley Jansen becoming big-time Red Sox trade deadline commodity in unexpected twist

Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox
Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have made their plan to trade veteran closer Kenley Jansen abundantly clear. They attempted to dish the righty in the offseason to offload his $16 million salary, but they couldn't strike a deal to ship him anywhere.

Jansen was Boston's lone All-Star in 2023, despite finishing the campaign with the second-highest ERA of his career. This season, Jansen is pitching more like his old self, but it didn't always feel that way.

In the veteran's first few outings, he walked batters at a high clip, allowed more hits than usual, and got himself into trouble before he could make his way out. Jansen posted six walks in his first six outings, but has walked just two batters since.

On June 9, Jansen posted his best outing of the season when the Red Sox needed it most. He entered Boston's series finale against the White Sox in the eighth inning, down by one run. He fanned three of the four batters he faced.

Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen's season has been better than he's given credit for

Boston tied the game in the top of the ninth frame and turned to Jansen again to get them to extra innings. He did just that. Jansen induced a flyout and struck out the next two batters. The 36-year-old righty earned the win and collected six outs in the game, something he hadn't accomplished since 2021.

Jansen's season has been better than many Sox fans give him credit for and he's built his trade value back up nicely. Jansen's arm and experience could help any contending team improve their bullpen. Fellow reliever Chris Martin will likely be traded as well — both pitchers are on the older side and their contracts with Boston expire at the end of the season.

The closer is a World Series champion and the Dodgers made the postseason in seven consecutive years while he was on the team. Jansen is October-tested and if he can maintain his current pace, the Red Sox should field some quality offers for him before the trade deadline.

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