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Mark Melancon is on the Giants. Aroldis Chapman is on the Yankees. That leaves Kenley Jansen among the elite class of closers available this offseason, and he has three teams zeroing in on him as the winter meetings come to a close on Thursday. The Dodgers, Marlins, and Nationals all want Jansen, and given Melancon’s $62 million deal and Chapman’s five-year, $86 million offer, it’s fair to say that the dude is going to get paid by whoever it is that signs him.
The Dodgers signed and developed Jansen (as a catcher), and he became a star closer under their watch. That’s the only organization he’s ever known, but they’re also in kind of a weird place where they’re trying to get their budget back under control, especially with the new collective bargaining agreement making it so that teams are punished even more the further beyond the luxury tax threshold they go. Already at $186 million in commitments, some quick math suggests that the Dodgers are already over said threshold before you even count their pre-arb and arb-eligible salaries — there’s a hefty annual cost for team medicals that applies against the luxury tax threshold that’s likely already thrown Los Angeles over the limit. So, if they skipped out on Jansen to try to find an answer elsewhere and then moved some starters (Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, perhaps) to shave off further dollars, no one should be surprised.
Someone has to sign Jansen, though, and given the other suitors are the Marlins and Nationals, it very well could still be Los Angeles. The Marlins aren’t exactly everyone’s favorite free-agent destination after they went and traded many of their last big-contract players shortly after signing them, though Jansen could reunite with former manager Don Mattingly, and the two have already been in touch. The Nationals have already missed on Melancon this offseason, as well as on a trade for Chris Sale, but coming away with Adam Eaton and Jansen would still make for a successful winter meetings. It’s whether or not they’ll pay what they need to in order to get Jansen that’s the question: they wouldn’t do it with Melancon, and he wasn’t owed draft-pick compensation like Jansen is.
- Oh, yeah, you didn’t hear? The Nationals traded for Adam Eaton, sending Lucas Giolito and two other prospects to the White Sox so they wouldn’t have to keep playing shortstop Trea Turner in center field.
- It was a steep price, but Eaton is well-rounded, and having two outfielders who can hit and field out there while Jayson Werth is still traipsing about was key.
- If you want a starting pitcher, you’re going to have to trade for one. Grant Brisbee organized those pitchers into helpful categories.
- Aroldis Chapman got a five-year deal for $86 million from the Yankees, because did you really think this story was going to end any other way? They already traded for him when he was a goblin facing suspension for domestic violence, then profited off it by dealing him midseason. We already knew they had zero qualms about the whole thing.
- The Royals got Jorge Soler back for the final season of Wade Davis, super closer, and that’s an underwhelming return. It might be the only return that they could afford, though.
- The Rockies signed Ian Desmond to play first base, which is a horrible waste considering he would be one of the worst-hitting first basemen in the game. There has to be a part two to this move, right?
- On top of the $70 million, the Rockies also sacrificed the 11th pick in the draft to get Desmond. Was it worth it?
- Jay Jaffe writes that Edgar Martinez is a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame.
- MLB overhauled international signings with the new CBA, and Baseball America’s Ben Badler tried to sort out what it all means.
- Hoping for an exception to the new international budget for Shohei Otani? Prepare to be disappointed.