Rumor: SF Giants interested in longtime rival closer

Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Two
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Two / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

This might seem like a rumor that is out of left field but Jon Morosi of the MLB Network reports that the SF Giants have expressed interest in longtime rival reliever Kenley Jansen. Evidently, talks have progressed to the point where specific details are being discussed as David Vassegh of AM 570 LA Sports reports.

Rumor: SF Giants interested in longtime rival closer

According to Morosi, the Giants are showing interest. However, Vassegh adds that a two-year deal is being discussed. San Francisco can certainly use some bullpen help as they posted a 4.08 ERA in 2022, which ranked as the 11th-worst mark in baseball.

The Giants have begun reworking the bullpen as veteran relievers Zack Littell and Jarlín García have been cut loose over the past 10 days. There is a lot of work to be done, but the Giants have a bonafide closer in Camilo Doval. Finding a closer is typically the hardest part in any bullpen, but with the Giants, they just need to build a bullpen that can get the ball to Doval.

Jansen is arguably the most notable reliever on the market and would quickly change the dynamic for a bullpen that needs proven talent. The hard-throwing reliever has posted a 2.46 ERA with 391 saves over his 13-year career. Of course, the bulk of his career has been spent in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform.

Jansen was originally signed as a catcher as an amateur free agent but transitioned to the bullpen after a few seasons as a pro. If this story sounds familiar, it is not too different to that of former Giants reliever Félix Rodríguez.

Jansen shocked many when he decided to sign a one-year, $16 million pact with the Atlanta Braves last season. Jansen proved to have plenty left in the tank as he registered a 3.38 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 12.0 K/9, and a 3.86 SO/W ratio in 65 appearances. He led the National League with 41 saves in 48 opportunities.

The longtime division rival does not flash the same type of velocity that he did much earlier in his career but he still has a cutter and slider that are tough on opposing hitters. Opposing hitters registered just a .170 batting average against the cutter compared to a .206 batting average against the slider in 2022.

The Giants front office has typically targeted value deals when looking at prospective relievers, so adding Jansen would be a change of pace. That said, the bullpen needs a lot of help.