Red Sox add closer Jansen on 2-year deal

December 13th, 2022

The Red Sox got the centerpiece of their revamped bullpen, announcing on Tuesday that they've signed veteran righty Kenley Jansen to a two-year contract. Terms of the deal were not announced, but it's worth $32 million a source told’s Mark Feinsand.

To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder/outfielder Hoy Park was designated for assignment.

Jansen gives the Sox the most established closer they’ve had since the departure of Craig Kimbrel after the 2018 season.

The ninth inning has been a revolving door in Boston the last four seasons.

In 2022, the bullpen was the biggest area of weakness for the Red Sox in a 78-84 season in which they finished in last place in the American League East.

The move reunites Jansen with Red Sox outfielder/infielder Kiké Hernández. Those two players were part of the World Series-winning Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020 and hope to make another deep postseason run together in Boston.

This is the third -- and most significant -- addition that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has made for a bullpen that finished 26th in the Majors with a 4.59 ERA last year while converting just 39 of 67 save opportunities.

The Sox signed lefty Joely Rodríguez to a one-year contract on Nov. 23 and agreed to terms on a two-year, $17.5 million deal with solid righty setup man Chris Martin on Thursday.

John Schreiber, who came out of nowhere to have a dominant season in 2022, is also back in the fold, along with Matt Barnes, who had a resurgent second half last season. Tanner Houck, one of Boston’s most talented arms, could also be a big piece of the bullpen, though he could also factor into the starting rotation for manager Alex Cora.

One of the most accomplished closers in history, Jansen left the Dodgers after 12 seasons to sign a one-year deal with the Braves last March. Different uniform, same result -- Jansen led the NL with 41 saves and recorded a 3.38 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 64 innings.

Known for his excellent cutter, the right-hander has reached the 30-save mark eight times in his career, including four 40-save campaigns, and he ranks eighth in AL/NL history with 391 saves.

Jansen has had his share of high-profile hiccups in the postseason, but he owns a 2.20 ERA with 20 saves over 59 appearances in his playoff career.

Originally a catcher, Jansen transitioned to the mound in the Minors before making his MLB debut with the Dodgers in 2010. He was consistently closing for Los Angeles by 2012 and recorded a career-high 44 saves two years later.

Jansen’s best season arguably came in 2017, when he finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting after posting 41 saves (in 42 chances), a 1.32 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP and a 109-to-7 K/BB ratio over 68 1/3 innings.

With the closer’s spot filled, Bloom will continue to prioritize the team’s other areas of need this winter, which include acquiring a catcher and adding another starting pitcher.