The Los Angeles Dodgers have had an incredible offseason. After signing the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow and Teoscar Hernández, the LA "superteam" is likely to steamroll its way to the top of the National League West.
But even after committing to spend over $1.1 billion this offseason, the Dodgers still have a couple spots on the roster worthy of addressing. One could be the closer role, and the Boston Red Sox could help there.
Evan Phillips has been a fine closer for LA for the last few years. In 2023, the veteran made 62 appearances while recoring 66 strikeouts and 24 saves with a 2.05 ERA and incredible 0.83 WHIP.According to Kevin Skinner of Sports Illustrated's Inside the Dodgers, LA would prefer to use Phillips in more of a setupman role.
New York Post's Jon Heyman has linked the Dodgers to 2023 All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, who the Red Sox reportedly made available for trades earlier in January. Jansen spent an impressive 12 seasons with the Dodgers to begin his career before heading to Atlanta in 2022 and then Boston in 2023. Three of Jansen's four All-Star game appearances came in consecutive years with LA from 2016-2018.
LA seems like one of the more likely clubs to take Jansen off Boston's hands for the upcoming season. The closer is owed $16 million in 2024, a drop in the bucket compared to what the Dodgers have already spent this winter. For many other teams, taking on a $16 million salary for a closer is firmly off the table, but LA could definitely swing it.
The Dodgers may be interested in Red Sox All-Star closer Kenley Jansen
If the Sox were to pursue a trade with the Dodgers for Jansen, LA's recently acquired, right-handed outfielder Manuel Margot could be part of a fine return. Boston has been looking to add depth to its outfield and a right-handed bat to its order, and Margot could be one of its better options if it misses out on another free-agent target, like Jorge Soler. They can shed a few million and address a position of need. Who knows, the Dodgers might need to throw in a prospect, too.
Jansen is a popular man in Dodger Blue, but the LA club has also been linked to other star closers on the market, with the Guardians' Emmanuel Clase being one of them. If the Red Sox were hoping to get a deal done to send Jansen elsewhere, they should get something done with the Dodgers sooner rather than later. Finding another team to eat $16 million for a closer may be a tall task.
Boston could also realize that it doesn't need to trade Jansen to field a successful team. There's no real need to shed payroll, as ownership has plenty of money. But if trading Jansen is key to improving the team, Red Sox fans would likely accept any step up at this point.