Red Sox Rumors: Orioles’ bullpen issues could intensify Kenley Jansen trade buzz

Washington Nationals v Boston Red Sox
Washington Nationals v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have posted poor showings at the trade deadline in recent years. But they have a new man in charge this year and Craig Breslow hasn't been shy about making trades (and some good ones!) early in his tenure as chief baseball officer.

Rumors flew about Kenley Jansen's future with the Red Sox organization for much of the offseason. Boston reportedly pursued a trade for the 2023 All-Star, but couldn't get a deal done.

But there's a team in the same division as the Sox who may seek additions to its bullpen before the trade deadline — the Baltimore Orioles — that could get Jansen's market buzzing again.

After Baltimore added Corbin Burnes via trade on Feb. 1, it seemed like the young club had all the resources it needed to thrive in arguably the most competitive division in baseball. The move was completely unexpected and changed the course of the Orioles' offseason just days before the official start of spring training.

A quarter of the way through the season, and a slight weakness has revealed itself in the Orioles' roster. Baltimore's bullpen could use a bit of help, and that's where the Red Sox come in.

The Orioles bullpen isn't bad. They carry the eighth-strongest bullpen ERA in the league at 3.34, but the 'pen is one of the club's only "weaknesses." If the Orioles refine their late-inning pitching, they could be near unbeatable.

Boston could ship Jansen to Baltimore to help it bolster its bullpen, as inter-division trades haven't scared off the Sox in recent years. The Orioles' current closer Craig Kimbrel's performance suffered in the last days of April and his first few outings of May. He's posted a 3.86 ERA in 16.1 innings and allowed six runs in five games from April 26-May 8. Baltimore's lead at the top of the American League East has been slim all season and it can't afford for its closer to lose it close games. Kimbrel, while still a solid reliever, just doesn't offer the same security as he once did, and the O's need better if they want to make a legitimate run.

Red Sox's Kenley Jansen could help the Orioles fix their bullpen woes

The beginning of Jansen's season wasn't ideal. He walked batters at a high clip and his appearances were rocky. Since April 14, he's turned his campaign around. The closer has pitched to a 2.45 ERA in 14.2 innings and he's allowed nine walks compared to 19 strikeouts.

One of the main reasons experts think that the Red Sox couldn't secure a trade involving Jansen over the offseason is his high salary and injury trouble at the time. By the trade deadline, most of Jansen's $16 million 2024 salary will have been paid by Boston and he would be much cheaper for any interested clubs.

Orioles ownership has been notoriously stingy for years, but a new ownership group at the helm of the organization could signal change. If Baltimore was to take a leap to win a World Series, the time is now, and Jansen could be a quality addition to its bullpen to help get it there, especially if the Sox feel like they can't contend for a wild card spot.

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