The Dodgers and Kenley Jansen officially parted ways last week. Jansen signed a one-year, $16 million contract with the Atlanta Braves this past Friday. For the first time in a decade, Jansen will not be closing out Los Angeles games.
Last season, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts occasionally shuffled Jansen in the eighth innings from time to time, which resulted in ninth-inning opportunities for other arms of the bullpen.
Now Roberts needs to strategize on which relievers can be trusted to secure crucial outs in high-leverage situations without Jansen. Jansen’s signing with Atlanta later led to reporters asking how Roberts would handle the 9th inning from a pitching perspective.
“It’s not necessarily the round. It’s more against who they go up against best. It’s more the conversation we have. So as long as we think we’re putting any reliever in the best chance of dominating these hitters, then all the guys accept that and understand that.
To all you fantasy baseball nerds out there, this sounds like the dreaded committee-matching approach.
Right-handed reliever Blake Treinen will likely get most of the work after a strong 2021. Treinen, with the help of his lead bowling ball, posted a 1.99 ERA last year and a 206 ERA.
Those numbers could end up turning a tighter democracy into a dictatorship before the 2022 season is fully said and done.
Again, Roberts and the Dodgers love to play matchups. Alex Vesía, Phil Bickford and Brusdar Graterol could all be in the game for a few saves if the Dodgers deem the game favorable.
Backup opportunities are not limited to these three names. The Dodgers will inevitably sign a journeyman reliever midway through the season who will eventually recover.
The only thing certain is that it won’t be Kenley Jansen who collects saves for the Dodgers this coming season.