The Atlanta Braves and reliever Kenley Jansen have agreed to a one-year deal worth $16 million, the club announced Friday evening.
Jansen, 34, has been one of the game’s elite closers for the better part of a decade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s coming off a 2021 campaign in which he recorded 38 saves across 69 innings with a 2.22 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 4.04 xFIP. Jansen’s WAR of 1.8 ranked 11th among all big league relievers.
The signing comes as a real stunner. Many figured the Braves would try to add a starting pitcher or another outfielder prior to opening day, but no one pegged Alex Anthopoulos targeting Jansen for the back-end of the bullpen.
Speaking of the bullpen — on paper, it is the best in baseball. Jansen, Will Smith, Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter, Luke Jackson and Collin McHugh as the top six is as good as it gets. Add in the potential for Kirby Yates to return at some point this season and a handful of others battling for jobs in spring training, and it will be a real weapon for Brian Snitker this summer.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Braves placed reliever Jay Jackson on the 60-day injured list.
More to come.