When the St. Louis Cardinals’ season came an abrupt end, it became clear just how much of a need upgrading the bullpen was. In the ninth inning, with their season on the line in a wild card game against the Dodgers, it was volatile reliever Alex Reyes on the mound.
So it made sense when Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times connected the Cardinals to All-Star reliever Kenley Jansen, who will be a free agent this offseason.
Jansen, 34. is going to land a lucrative multi-year extension this offseason and is unlikely to return to the Dodgers for that reason. That price is likely to take the Cardinals out of that bidding – they have so many other pressing holes on the roster to address – but it would behoove them to check in on Jansen to see if they can make an agreement happen.
Kenley Jansen would give St Louis Cardinals a shutdown closer
Just imagine what Jansen would do for the bullpen. He would give them a bonafide shutdown closer and allow Reyes and Giovanny Gallegos to pitch the seventh and eighth innings. Of course, Jansen is not the same pitcher he once was and at this stage of his career is no longer in his prime, but he showed this season that he is still an upper-level type closer.
And he’s evolved, transitioning from a mostly cutter based reliever to introducing a sinker and slider to his arsenal this season. The results were a 2.22 ERA and 38 saves in 69 appearances in, as Castillo noted, a season that Jansen largely considered disappointing.
That mindset, along with his big game experience, would give the Cardinals a championship pedigree in a season that will be World Series or bust. The price makes it unlikely to happen, but it doesn’t hurt to check in — and it seems that’s something president of baseball operations John Mozeliak is prepared to do.