“Guess who just got back today
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed that much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy”
And they said it wouldn’t happen. No way the Dodgers re-sign all three top targets, which also happened to be some of the top free agents on the market this winter. But, they were wrong. In the best Monday in a long time, news has broken that the Dodgers are in agreement with closer Kenley Jansen, and almost if not already in agreement with third baseman Justin Turner. LA already signed Rich Hill to a three year contract last week.
Both the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins were said to be working hard to steal Kenley away from LA. Jansen met with former manager Don Mattingly about making the move to Miami. But it seems as though Kenley wanted to stay in LA.
That is great news. I had previously worried that the Dodgers trying to acquire Aroldis Chapman last offseason would put a sour taste in Kenley’s mouth about re-signing. It appears it did not, and I also wonder whether the way last postseason played out, with Kenley being called upon to do more, and his feeding off the energy of Clayton Kershaw, led him back to finish the quest to be World Series champions. His deal is for five years, $80M, with an opt out after three years. Maybe the opt out is what made him stay. Whatever the case may be, Kenley was the best option for the Dodgers at closer, and they got him.
Justin Turner is also about to return to the fold. Rumors on his contract put it at four years, $65M. There wasn’t as much of a market for Turner as there has previously thought to be. Regardless, Turner wanted to stay in LA, and the Dodgers wanted him back. Turner is the rare late bloomer success story in baseball, and has worked his way to being one of the top defensive third basemen in the game. He also is well loved in the clubhouse, and has come into his own offensively. He also was the best available, and needed to be brought back. Hooray for more selfies with Adrian Gonzalez!
So, we could go on about all the money. The Dodgers will be about $250M payroll for the year, and have to pay a gazillion dollars in luxury taxes. But when you look at it, what else could the front office do? This team was two wins and a blown call of Adrian Gonzalez at home away from being in the World Series last year. They’ve won the division four straight years, with no World Series appearance to show for it. This front office has stated that they would like to go cheaper and younger. That’s just not feasible at this point, if the World Series sooner than later is the goal. At a time when the Cubs are as dominate as they are, the Dodgers had to go all in to compete. Sure, there is more work to be done, namely finding a second baseman, and a set up man for Jansen. They have been reported to be talking with Greg Holland. But by re-signing Jansen and Turner, the Dodgers have kept their plethora of extraneous players, and a stocked farm system with which to go out and find a very suitable player to bolster the defense and the offense. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Welcome Winter Solstice, Dodger fans! It’s a happy holiday for us all.