(Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
The Fish have already made public their desire to snare closer Kenley Jansen from the free agent market, with news coming last night that team owner Jeffrey Loria has approved a hefty sum of cash to sign either Jansen or Aroldis Chapman.
The Marlins began expressing their interest in Jansen early in November, indicating that they are considering the idea of putting together a “super-bullpen” since there aren’t the types of starters available in the market at reasonable cost to help them upgrade their decrepit starting rotation.
Yet despite the apparent lack of free agent starting pitchers, Miami signed journeyman and former Dodger Edinson Volquez to a two-year deal last week, and added more depth by inking veteran Jeff Locke to a one-year deal on Wednesday.
As far as Jansen is concerned, the Marlins could have a geographic edge in the Jansen sweepstakes since he’s a native of Curacao and “might not mind Miami,” a number of reporters have explained. The Marlins also have a managerial advantage — Don Mattingly was Jansen’s skipper right at the point when the closer’s career began to take off in the Dodgers’ bullpen. It’s been recently disclosed that Mattingly has reached out to Jansen personally, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports divulged that Jansen told the Marlins’ skipper that he’s definitely open to the idea of pitching in Florida.
Furthermore, the Marlins also agreed to terms with former Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis on a 1-year deal for $2.5 million on Wednesday, making the offer to Jansen seem at least a bit more appealing.
Jansen had a career-high 47 saves and career-low 0.67 WHIP with Los Angeles last season. The 29-year-old righty recorded a 1.83 ERA in 71 appearances, striking out 104 batters in 68 2/3 innings of work. In addition to being named an All-Star for the first time, Jansen was also named the National League Reliever of the Year just before the conclusion of the World Series.
Many baseball executives speculate the price to snag Jansen could be extremely high, however. In the Chapman sweepstakes, a mystery team has been rumored to being prepared to offer the southpaw flamethrower up to a $92 million deal.
At the general managers meetings last month, Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi told reporters that his management team may be re-exploring options in acquiring Chapman in addition to making Jansen a high priority.
“We have interest in both guys,” Zaidi said. “But it’s no certainty that we would be able to sign either. So we have to be open to alternatives.”
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports on Wednesday indicated that there was a general feeling at the Winter Meetings that either Jansen or Chapman could be close to making a decision.
Early whispers around the Jansen camp indicated that the righty was seeking a six-year pact in the $100 million range, but many pundits familiar with the discussions estimate that a five-year contract in the $80 million range is probably more realistic.
In addition to the Marlins and Dodgers, at least two other clubs — the Yankees and Nationals — have been heavily linked to both Jansen and Chapman.