Could the SF Giants swing for the fences once work resumes and sign a long-time rival?
Forget Kershaw, should the SF Giants pursue Kenley Jansen?
There has been A LOT of time this offseason because of the lockout. Due to that time, there have been numerous columns, articles, and think pieces that have suggested, or pondered, whether or not the Giants should pursue Clayton Kershaw, Chris Taylor, and even Max Scherzer.
However, not a lot has been written about the idea of bringing in another Dodgers free agent: Kenley Jansen. Coming off his best season since 2017, Jansen finished last season with an ERA of 2.22. If you exclude the low sample-sized 2020 season, Jansen had the lowest average exit velocity (83.3 MPH) and Hard Hit Rate (26.1%) of his career in 2021. To go along with that, the 34-year-old threw 69 innings, which is the third-highest tally of his career. (76.2 in 2013, 71.2 in 2018).
So, for starters, would Jansen even make sense for the Giants? As it stands right now, the Giants main five in the bullpen are Camilo Doval, Jake McGee, Dominic Leone, Jarlin García, and Tyler Rogers. In a time period where strikeouts are king, Jansen would have the second-highest K% AND K/9 amongst those five. (Unless you discredit Doval's 33.9% K% and 12.3 K/9 because of him only throwing 27 innings, then Jansen is top). If you believe the team should stay away from older, aging veterans, then adding Jansen to the stable wouldn't appeal to you; he would join the three players who are also 30 or older (Leone, Rogers, and, McGee).
McGee is currently the Giants highest-paid reliever, with an AAV of $2.5M. Signing Jansen would absolutely exceed that number. The veteran hurler would - without a doubt - be the most expensive member of the bullpen. Based on whichever projection you look at or who you read, Jansen could sign a 2-3 year contract anywhere between $15M-$22M, or possibly even higher on the free-agent market.
Further adding to the bullpen is not likely where the Giants will further allocate their payroll. After all, they still have rotation, infield, and outfield problems that should be addressed first and foremost. However, I think Jansen, despite his age, and probable contract number, would be worth making the exception for. It would be a huge loss on the Dodgers' end and a nice gain for the Giants.