Kenley Jansen has avoided arbitration with the Dodgers by inking a one-year, $4.3 million contract, which is $25,000 above the midpoint of his submission and the team’s counter.
Jansen sometimes flies under the radar when stud relievers are discussed because he’s yet to rack up huge save totals, but no one has been more dominant over the past four seasons. Since debuting in 2010 he has a 2.10 ERA in 216 appearances, striking out an incredible 347 batters in 222 innings while holding opponents to a .158 batting average.
If the Dodgers let him keep the closer job all season he’ll likely save 40-plus games and then he’ll be incredibly expensive this time next year.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.