The Mets can find their next closer and a backup option this year by signing Kenley Jansen
Less talked about but still mentioned as a bullpen option for the Mets next year, free agent reliever Kenley Jansen remains one of the better ninth inning men in baseball. A dozen years with the Los Angeles Dodgers have given him a 37-26 record, 2.37 ERA, and 350 total saves. He’s the kind of guy you sign for two or three years and attack a championship. The Mets, with Edwin Diaz currently in the closer role, could swoop in and change those plans.
Diaz is a free agent after the 2022 season which can resolve the question of “who’s next?” by signing Jansen now. The trouble here is you’d have to pay Jansen like a closer already even if he’s not getting his save opportunities. This is the last big contract Jansen will get and I don’t think there’s any team he’d agree to play for at a discount.
His most elite days may be in the past. In three of the last four seasons, he had an ERA over 3.00. Prior to 2018, he never saw a season end with an ERA higher than 2.85.
Last year was a little more of a throwback season for the longtime Dodgers closer. He successfully saved 38 games while pitching to a 2.22 ERA.
For a year, maybe Jansen does accept an eighth inning role. The danger with this is the same thing that happened with Jeurys Familia when he returned to the Mets in 2019. Can a closer succeed when he doesn’t close?