And then there was one.
On the same day closer Wade Davis was traded to the Chicago Cubs, the New York Yankees were reportedly finalizing a five-year, $86 million contract with Aroldis Chapman. With Davis and Chapman’s fate settled, Kenley Jansen remains baseball’s last premier closer whose 2017 address is unsettled.
Here’s where things stand with Jansen and the Dodgers:
- The decision on Jansen is one of many being weighed in the Dodgers’ suite at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel. They’re still believed to be in contention to re-sign third baseman Justin Turner. The Dodgers might get out-bid for both players. They might re-sign both. In any event, their 40-man roster is full, so something has to give before the Dodgers’ next transaction(s). The current group of 40 projects to make around $204 million, and if the club intends to get under the $195 million luxury tax next year, something rather large has to give.
- Short of knowing what his camp is asking for, we’ll point out that Turner has been projected to land a contract between four years/$68 million, and 5/$85. If the final numbers are in that neighborhood, the Dodgers’ 40-man projection for 2017 grows to $221 million and spending an extra $17.2 million a year on a closer — Chapman’s average annual value — is harder to rationalize. Andrew Friedman offered a thought about rationality yesterday.
- The Miami Marlins are pushing hard for Jansen, too. According to multiple reports, they’ve offered him a five-year contract in excess of $80 million. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he personally reached out to Jansen. Mattingly reached out to free agent catcher A.J. Ellis about a reunion, too, and Ellis signed with Miami earlier Wednesday. (Alas, Donnie Baseball could never persuade Phil Niekro to switch to Coke Classic.) For what it’s worth, the Marlins would have to sacrifice their first pick of the 2017 draft, number 13 overall, to sign Jansen. In fact, the Dodgers are the only team that needs a closer, can afford to pay Jansen something close to Chapman money, and wouldn’t have to sacrifice their first pick in next year’s draft to sign him.
- It might be worth noting that Jansen and the Dodgers began this journey rather far apart. Sources with knowledge of the negotiations said the Dodgers began with an offer of four years and $55 million, a record average annual value for a closer. Jansen’s counter-offer? Eight years, $150 million. He might not get eight years, but a shorter-term deal that pays close to $18 million annually suddenly doesn’t seem far-fetched in this year’s market.
- The Dodgers reportedly made “some attempt” to sign Chapman, whose contract curiously allows him to block a trade to California. Given Chapman’s apparent lack of interest in moving West, he might not have been the Dodgers’ Plan B in case Jansen signs elsewhere. The Chicago White Sox have already traded right fielder Adam Eaton and pitcher Chris Sale in separate trades at the Winter Meetings, and closer David Robertson could be next to join the fire sale. Robertson, 31, is owed $12 million next year and $13 million in 2018. The right-hander has 110 saves from 2014-16, his first three seasons as a closer, to go with a 2.92 FIP and 12.17 strikeouts per nine innings. There have been no indications that the Marlins would pivot to Robertson if the Dodgers sign Jansen.
- Thursday ought to be a big day, and not just because of the Rule 5 draft.