The Marlins top priority in free agency is signing elite closer Kenley Jansen according to Jon Heyman of FanRag. The 29-year-old pitcher formally rejected the Dodgers’ qualifying offer, officially making him a free agent attached to draft pick compensation.
Jansen is coming off of his most dominant season yet while also carrying his biggest workload. Over 68.2 innings, Jansen struck out 104 batters while allowing just 14 earned runs on 35 hits and 11 walks. Among relievers, Jansen posted the second-best FIP in all of baseball, behind only Aroldis Chapman.
The Marlins bullpen was right around the league median, finishing seventh in FanGraphs’ WAR among National League teams. Furthermore, the team posted the fifth-best FIP in the NL, behind only the Nationals, Mets, Dodgers, and Braves. And they did it with A.J. Ramos as their closer.
Heyman editorialized some reasons why the Marlins may make sense for Jansen:
One thing in their favor, potentially: Jansen is from Curacao, and might not mind Miami. They have a geographic edge in a potential Aroldis Chapman derby, as well, but that might be a difficult race for them to win, even more difficult than Jansen.
One more plus: Marlins manager Don Mattingly had Jansen with the Dodgers when Jansen’s career took off.
With Ramos under team control, along with Kyle Barraclough, and David Phelps, the Marlins aren’t in particular need of adding to their bullpen. However, with teams adding extra emphasis to bullpen dominance, the addition of Jansen could push the Marlins’ bullpen into the elite echelon.
Because Jansen was offered and turned down a qualifying offer, he is subsequently attached to draft pick compensation for the Dodgers. If the Marlins are to sign Jansen, they would forfeit their first-round pick in order to do so, while the Dodgers would earn a compensation pick following the first round of the draft. Jansen is likely to command a lot of interest from around the league in free agency and is competing with Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon as elite relievers on the free agent market.