The Atlanta Braves shocked the baseball world this evening by signing veteran reliever Kenley Jansen to a contract.
A shocking move that not many saw coming. Adding Jansen to the bullpen strengthens a position that most already felt great about.
Jansen had a bounce-back year in 2021. He appeared in 69 games, with a 2.22 ERA, 2.83 xERA, 3.08 FIP, 4.04 xFIP, 3.72 SIERA, & 1.04 WHIP with 38 saves.
He reinvented himself in 2021, trusting his slider more. His slider usage jumped from 9.6% in 2020 to 15.4% in 2021. He has primarily been a cutter only guy in his career but has become craftier as he has aged.
He has been one of the best closers in the game since debuting. He has a career 2.37 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 2.73 xFIP, 2.14 SIERA, 0.93 WHIP, & 350 saves.
This includes nine seasons in the top 10 of saves. The 350 saves are good for 13th most all time, and he is currently second among active players in saves, trailing only Craig Kimbrel.
He spent the first 12 years of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he was a three-time All-Star in 2016, 2017, & 2018. He has also won two Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year rewards.
Jansen strengthens the bullpen. At times last year, the bullpen was a major concern for the Braves. However, the bullpen really turned it on in the postseason, led by the group affectionately referred to as “The Night Shift.”
Kirby Yates could also return around August. This has the potential to be the best bullpen in baseball.
Alex Anthopoulos said that Jansen will get the majority of save opportunities and he discussed this with Will Smith before making the move and Smith was all-in with the move.
The move solidifies one thing for sure. Alex Anthopolous and the Atlanta Braves are not satisfied with being a one-hit-wonder. They are looking to create something special in Atlanta.