The Boston Red Sox are making their first move of the winter meetings. According to multiple reports, the Sox and reliever Kenley Jansen have agreed to a two-year, $32 million contract.
Jansen, 35 and originally from Curaçao, just finished his 13th MLB season and spent all but one of those with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He won a ring with L.A. in 2020 and signed with the Atlanta Braves before the 2022 season. He has a lifetime ERA of 2.46 with 391 career saves and has been a consistent workhorse, pitching at least 52 innings every season since 2010. In 2022, he had a 3.38 ERA and 41 saves.
The biggest health concern for Jansen during his career has been his heart. He was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (essentially an irregular heartbeat) in 2011 and has been dealing with recurring episodes ever since. He missed time in 2012 and 2018 due to an irregular heartbeat and had surgery at the end of both of those seasons.
Jansen has seen the standard dip in effectiveness as he has gotten older, and while he might not be unhittable anymore, he's still a valuable bullpen piece. The Red Sox have focused mostly on their bullpen in the offseason thus far, with Jansen joining earlier signings of Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin.
The Jansen deal is the first the Red Sox have gotten done since the winter meetings began earlier this week. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies have signed Trea Turner and Taijuan Walker, the New York Yankees re-signed Aaron Judge, and the New York Mets added Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana, among many other deals. Competitive teams have been doling out big money to talented players, but the Red Sox weren't seriously in the running to land any of those.
It's of course still possible the Red Sox could get in on the fun. Their longtime shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, is a free agent, and they could still sign him. But given the state of the Sox right now — a dead-last finish in the American League East and a chief baseball officer who has continued to drain the talent from a once-mighty team — it doesn't seem likely.