Are the Philadelphia Phillies in the market for a closer with spring training less than a week away? Earlier today Howard Eskin from SportsRadio 94WIP connected the Phillies in trade talks with the Cleveland Guardians for Emmanuel Clase. But now another name has entered the discussion.
MLB insider Jon Morosi was a recent guest on MLB Network's Hot Stove, and during that appearance, Morosi spoke of the Boston Red Sox's willingness to deal All-Star closer Kenley Jansen in a move to shed payroll.
Could the Phillies be interested? Morosi thinks so.
"The Phillies have not really addressed the main reason why it was the Diamondbacks and not the [Phillies] who advanced to the World Series last year," said Morosi. "And that's their bullpen."
How would the Red Sox and Phillies match up in a trade involving Kenley Jansen? According to Morosi, the Red Sox are willing to part with Jansen under two circumstances.
"The Red Sox want either pitching back," added Morosi. "Or the potential to reinvest some money in other pitching. And the two teams to watch there are the Dodgers and the Phillies."
In 2023, Jansen pitched to a 3.63 ERA and 1.28 WHIP while locking down 29 saves in 33 chances over 51 appearances for Boston. Two years ago, the righty saved 41 games for the Atlanta Braves.
A Kenley Jansen trade that works for the Phillies
Trading for Kenley Jansen would solve a lot of problems in the Phillies bullpen. Right now, it's unclear who on the current staff would be in line for save opportunities when the season starts, and if last year was any indication, the closer role is something that needs to be taken seriously if the Phillies want to win a World Series.
How about trading for a guy with 420 career saves?
Morosi mentioned two scenarios where the Red Sox would be willing to part with Jansen. One would be for a haul of young, cost-controllable pitching. We know that the Phillies don't have an abundance of young pitching to spare, and trading guys like Mick Abel or Griff McGarry would seriously compromise organizational starting pitching depth if dealt.
A more reasonable option would see the Phillies taking on a large share of the $16 million remaining on Jansen's contract and trading away some lesser talent from the minor league prospect pool to get it done. Under this circumstance, the Phillies get an All-Star closer, don't give up much in talent, and let Jansen walk when his contract expires at the end of the 2024 season.