When I consider a top tier, shutdown closer, Kenley Jansen is one name I love to see.
With Alex Reyes and Jordan Hicks set to move into starter roles in 2022, this leaves Giovanny Gallegos as the possible closer. While he did excel in the role, it would be great to have a proven veteran to compete with for the role.
Jansen is one of the available free agent relievers that may fit this role perfectly.
In 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jansen has a record of 37-26 with 350 saves in 701 games. He had 38 saves in 2021. He has a career total of 1,022 strikeouts in 705 innings thrown.
He relies on three pitches – a cutter, a sinker, and a slider. Jensen’s cutter averages 92.5 mph with 14.5 inches of vertical drop and a 78% active spin. The sinker averages 93.9 mph with 11.9 inches of vertical drop and a 94% active spin. The slider averages 82 mph with 46.8 inches of vertical drop and 48% active spin. For 2021, Jensen had a 31.2% swinging-strike rate. He left 77.5% of runners on base and was able to induce 37.1% ground balls.
Even at 33, Jensen still has an effective arm. It would be great to see him bring that skill to the Cardinals to help close things up for the club.