Dodgers Finally Make Kenley Jansen Deal Official

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(Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

After initially reaching an agreement in mid-December, the Dodgers finally announced on Tuesday the signing of free agent right-handed pitcher Kenley Jansen to a five-year, $80 million contract.

According to a report from Jon Heyman, Jansen will receive a $4 million signing bonus followed by salaries of $10 million in 2017 and 2018, $18 million in 2019 and 2020, then ultimately closing the deal with $20 million in 2021. Reportedly, he also has the choice of opting out after the 2019 season.

To create room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated infielder Micah Johnson for assignment. Johnson was originally acquired in the three-team deal with the Reds and White Sox in December of 2015 which also netted the Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson and pitcher Frankie Montas. The hard-throwing Montas was subsequently dealt to Oakland at the trade deadline last season in a package to obtain starting pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick.

Jansen, 29, was named the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year and earned the first All-Star selection of his career in 2016, going 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA and a career-high 47 saves in 53 opportunities. He led the Majors with a .150 opponents’ batting average and a 0.67 WHIP, while ranking among the National League relief leaders in ERA, strikeouts and strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Curacao native tossed scoreless relief in six of seven postseason appearances, while turning in several dominant multi-inning outings and successfully converting all three saves opportunities.

Overall, Jansen has a 19-13 career record with a 2.20 ERA and 189 saves in seven MLB seasons, all with Los Angeles, after making his big-league debut in 2010. Since his first full season in 2011, Jansen tops National League relievers with 591 strikeouts and a 0.89 WHIP, while ranking among the league’s best with a 2.31 ERA, 185 saves and a .173 opponents’ batting average. He cemented his place among the Dodgers’ all-time relievers in 2016, becoming the franchise record holder with 189 career saves and 632 strikeouts as a reliever, surpassing Eric Gagné’s mark of 164 saves and Jim Brewer’s 604 strikeouts. In 17 career postseason appearances, Jansen has a 2.66 ERA and a franchise-record eight saves.

Jansen was originally signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent in 2004, and spent the first five years of his career as a catcher before converting to pitcher during the 2009 season.

During his wedding ceremony just before the turn of the new year, Jansen was rumored to be having difficulty processing leaving the Dodgers, and instructed his agent Stan Katz to work hard and get the deal done, despite receiving several higher offers from competing clubs.

(Dai Sugiura furnished some information provided in this report)

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