ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves capped a busy week with another stunning move, signing three-time All-Star closer Kenley Jansen to a $16 million, one-year contract Friday night.
The 34-year-old Jansen, who finished with 38 saves and a 2.22 ERA in 69 appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, is expected to take over from Will Smith as the Braves’ closer.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos said he discussed the signing with Smith before finalizing the deal.
The left-hander had 37 saves and was especially effective down the stretch and in the postseason for the World Series champions. In the playoffs, Smith had six saves and didn’t allow a run over 11 innings.
“We told him we might have an opportunity to do something like this, but we wanted to make sure he was good with it,” Anthopoulos said. “Will is on board. He said, ‘If it makes the team better and gives us a chance to win another ring and have a parade again, I’m all in.’”
Anthopoulos said Smith was still likely to get some save opportunities when Jansen needs a day off.
Otherwise, the lefty will work in a setup role along with Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson and A.J. Minter. The Braves also added Collin McHugh to a bullpen that now looks like one of the team’s biggest strengths.
Jansen has 350 saves in his 12-year career which had been spent entirely with the Dodgers.
The move came two days after free-agent first baseman Freddie Freeman, who had spent his entire career with the Braves, agreed to a $162 million, six-year contract with the Dodgers.
Earlier in the week, Atlanta traded for All-Star first baseman Matt Olson from Oakland and signed him to a $168 million, eight-year contract, signaling an abrupt end to Freeman’s long tenure in Atlanta.
The Dodgers and Braves have squared off in the last two NL Championship Series, each winning once on the way to a World Series title.
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 and find his work at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.