THURSDAY, 12:39pm: If the Marlins don’t land Jansen, they could turn to another free agent, Neftali Feliz, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (on Twitter). The 28-year-old Feliz is coming off a good year with the Pirates (3.52 ERA, 10.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9) and has closing experience. He should also be considerably cheaper than Jansen.
7:50am: Rival executives don’t expect the Dodgers to match the Marlins’ offer, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
7:15am: The Nationals are now “making a push” for Jansen, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (Twitter links). However, the Nats are “uncomfortable” with the financial commitment it would take to land him, tweets Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. The club has previously used deferrals as a way to help sign big-money players like Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, but that’s unlikely to work this time, per Rosenthal.
WEDNESDAY: The Marlins have made an offer of five years and more than $80MM to free agent closer Kenley Jansen, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets. The Marlins were reportedly the runners-up to acquire Aroldis Chapman, who agreed to a five-year, $86MM deal with the Yankees late tonight. Now, with Chapman off the table, it appears they’re trying to lure Jansen with a similarly huge offer. Barring an unforeseen turn of events, Jansen seems likely to pick the Marlins (where he’d be reunited with former manager Don Mattingly and teammates Dee Gordon and A.J. Ellis) or re-sign with the Dodgers.
Jansen doesn’t have Chapman’s spectacular velocity, but he’s a dominating reliever in his own right — he’s coming off a season in which he posted a 1.83 ERA, 13.6 K/9 and an incredibly low 1.4 BB/9 in 68 2/3 innings with the Dodgers. He’s had a much quieter career than Chapman has, but there’s no arguing his tremendous career numbers, including a 2.20 ERA, 13.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.
Still, it’s somewhat surprising to hear that he’s received at least one contract offer similar to Chapman’s deal, which broke the previous record for a relief pitcher contract by $24MM. The recent offers he, Chapman and Mark Melancon have received have been stratospheric, reflecting a trend throughout the industry of increasing salaries for dominant relievers.
It’s also somewhat odd that the Marlins (who won just 79 games last season and recently lost former ace Jose Fernandez under tragic circumstances) are ready to make such an enormous investment in a closer, even a great one. Jansen, who rejected a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, would also cost the Marlins their top 2017 draft pick, No. 13 overall.