Kenley Jansen is on the Dodgers, and the Dodgers are trying to win. That’s good! The problem is that Jansen sees the Dodgers as just one of six National League teams that are even bothering to try to win, and while that’s good for Los Angeles’ odds, it’s not so good for baseball as a whole.
In an interview with Jon Heyman, Jansen didn’t name any teams that aren’t trying, but he made it pretty simple to figure out who he’s talking about all the same.
Specifically, Jansen says he believes three teams are trying in the NL West, two in the NL Central and only one in the NL East.
“There’s one team competing for the title in the NL East!” Jansen says, incredulously.
“They’re just not trying that hard,” Jansen said. “I think they are competing for the championship of revenue (profit). I think they are trying to see who can have the most revenue (profit). I think they don’t care about the trophy. No disrespect, but we want to see more teams be competitive.”
Jansen goes on to express concern for the free agents who are still out there who could help these teams win, and yet, they remain unemployed. That’s bad news for young players in the future, but also, it’s just bad for competitive balance. “Every year there’s tanking,” said Jansen. “It’s obvious. They just made it more obvious this year.”
The other key takeaway from this is that Jansen still feels like, as much as no one wants a strike, if that’s what the players have to do in order to fix things before the next collective bargaining agreement, then, that’s what’s going to have to happen. He also (correctly, in this writer’s opinion) realizes that the Players Union needs more legal help on their side, and that maybe all these former players in advisory roles isn’t the best way to tackle the MLB giant in negotiations.
Like with Justin Upton and Eric Hosmer and Kris Bryant, Jansen has no concerns being vocal about what’s going on in baseball, as represented by this offseason. The number of players willing to speak up still needs to grow if there is to be any change, though, but luckily for the MLBPA, they have time to sort all of this out before 2021. So long as players like Jansen keep pointing out all the reasons that the MLBPA has sorting out to do in the first place.
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