Should the St. Louis Cardinals pursue Kenley Jansen? Our friends at FanSided believe so, but don’t get your hopes up.
The St. Louis Cardinals have reportedly prioritized upgrading their bullpen. Even after signing Steven Matz, it’s clear that they still have money to spend, so it’s likely they have room for an impact addition or two.
The names that the Cardinals have been connected to include Ryan Tepera and Joe Kelly. But should they pursue Kenley Jansen, the consensus top free-agent reliever available?
It’s an argument that our friends at FanSided made and, on the surface, it makes a lot of sense. Jansen, who has spent 12 seasons with the Dodgers, has posted a 2.37 ERA in his career and converted 350 of 395 save opportunities. He has been a top-5 closer throughout his career and, if signed, would be the type of addition that would solidify the ninth inning for the next 2-3 seasons.
Such an addition, however, feels unlikely — and it all comes down to price. Raisel Iglesias, the top free-agent reliever entering the offseason, signed a four-year, $58 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Of course, Jansen won’t command a deal that high, but he is likely to command a lucrative multi-year contract which could take him out of the Cardinals’ price range.
Specifically, MLB Trade Rumors projects Jansen to land a two-year, $26 million deal. While that deal seems reasonable on the surface, the Cardinals will have to ask themselves this: would you rather have Jansen for $13 million per season or have both Kelly and Tepera for the same price?
This is a guess, and nothing more than that, but it feels like the Cardinals would prefer having Kelly and Tepera in that scenario. It would give them two established arms in the late innings and provide the depth and flexibility that new manager Oli Marmol is believed to covet.
Jansen would not be a bad scenario at all, and signing him would indicate the Cardinals are all-in on the 2022 season. Unless something changes, it feels unlikely that he ends up in St. Louis, but that shouldn’t prevent them from checking in with his agent to see if a deal can be made.