Boston Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 14. But there's one pitcher on the roster who's unsure of where he could be reporting, and that's Kenley Jansen.
Boston has been taking calls for Jansen for a few weeks, but talks have recently intensified. A few teams have emerged as candidates for a trade.
It's unclear what the Red Sox are hoping to get in return for Jansen if a trade were to go through. Some experts have suggested that they should prioritize a salary dump and use the money to sign somebody like Jordan Montgomery.
A clear frontrunner likely can't be determined until Boston's return expectations are clear, but the three teams rumored to be in the mix for Jansen are the Dodgers, Phillies and Padres.
Dodgers, Padres and Phillies reportedly all in the conversation for Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen
MLB Network's Jon Morosi floated Philly as a potential landing spot for Jansen. Philadelphia lost its former closer to the Orioles this offseason in Craig Kimbrel, and replacing him with Jansen would be a decent swap. Both hurlers earned All-Star nods last season, but Kimbrel made 20 more appearances than Jansen.
The Dodgers need pitchers, period. LA was interested in Josh Hader while he was still on the market, but it lost out to the Astros for his signature. Jansen hasn't been as dominant or consistent as Hader since he left the Dodgers in 2021, but if they're insistent on fielding a closer, he may be the best option.
MLB insider Jon Heyman has been fueling a lot of the LA and San Diego buzz in the Jansen market, and the Red Sox and Padres have also reportedly chatted about an exchange. However, Heyman conceded that someone in San Diego admitted before the trade of Juan Soto that the team needed to cut payroll. It may be trying to slash even more, in which case, taking on Jansen's $16 million salary for 2024 won't do them any favors.
Finding a suitor for Jansen could be key for the Red Sox in the front office's mind. Waiting until the trade deadline to dish him may not be the best idea — at that point, his value could be diminished based on his performance, and ditching somewhere around $6-$7 million would hardly be notable.
Trading Jansen could be the first step to signing a top-tier free agent, specifically Montgomery. With any luck, Boston will be able to find a destination for the closer and get a fine deal out of it before spring training.