MIAMI -- If the Marlins can't make substantial additions to their rotation, they may opt to pour more financial resources into the bullpen. And the club is reportedly pursuing one of the top free-agent closers on the market.Kenley Jansen, who has 189 saves over seven seasons with the Dodgers, is
MIAMI -- If the Marlins can't make substantial additions to their rotation, they may opt to pour more financial resources into the bullpen. And the club is reportedly pursuing one of the top free-agent closers on the market.
Kenley Jansen, who has 189 saves over seven seasons with the Dodgers, is the Marlins' top free-agent target, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
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Miami's interest in Jansen is expected. It's no mystery the Marlins are in the market for starting pitching, but options are limited in free agency, and they are costly in terms of talent being asked for in trades. So one strategy Miami is considering is beefing up the bullpen.
Jansen previously pitched for Miami manager Don Mattingly in Los Angeles, so there is familiarity with the player. And Jansen certainly raised his stock with a strong season, saving 47 of 53 attempts in 2016. The 29-year-old right-hander didn't allow a run in 6 1/3 innings while striking out 10 in the National League Championship Series against the Cubs.
There are some potential catches in Miami's pursuit of Jansen. Because he declined a $17.2 million qualifying offer, the Dodgers will receive a compensatory Draft pick should the hard-throwing closer sign elsewhere.
So if Jansen signed with the Marlins, they'd surrender the 14th overall pick in 2017. Miami already has a thin Minor League system, and it may be reluctant to part with a first-rounder.
• Declined offers to add up to 8 first-round Draft picks
Along with Jansen, the Marlins also are expected to explore what it will take to sign free-agent closer Aroldis Chapman, who could be leaning toward the Yankees or Cubs. Unlike Jansen, there is no compensatory Draft pick for Chapman.
Another issue is the Marlins are still weighing how much of their core they plan on retaining. The team is open to trading outfielder Marcell Ozuna and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria for pitching help. Could they be willing to trade away more key players if they don't believe they have the pitching to contend?
If the core remains together, Miami may be looking to make at least one big-splash free-agent signing. Jansen could be it, in hopes of strengthening the bullpen.
Signing Jansen or another top closer also could impact the rotation, because in that scenario, David Phelps may become a starter instead of being part of the bullpen.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.