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Have the Dodgers finally ditched Brandon League for Kenley Jansen as closer?

May 15, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Kenley Jansen AP

When the Dodgers acquired Brandon League last season and made him their closer many people wondered why they’d do that with a far superior option available in Kenley Jansen. And then when the Dodgers re-signed League to a bloated three-year, $22.5 million deal and stuck with him as their closer many people wondered the same thing again.

Things have played out as expected, with League struggling in the closer role and Jansen being his usual dominant self as a setup man, and manager Don Mattingly appears to have finally seen the light.

Jansen got the nod over League to record the final out (and save) after Clayton Kershaw came up just short of a complete-game shutout last night and afterward Mattingly was evasive when asked if ninth-inning duties had changed hands:

We’ll see. I don’t know if I really have to set roles. We always talk about where we’re at in the lineup. I know we like to create controversies and all that. Honestly, I prefer having roles where everybody knows where they’re at. But tonight I felt like Kenley was the best shot of getting that guy out.

He’s right of course, although the same applies every night.

Jansen debuted in 2010 and has thrown 166 innings with a 2.23 ERA, .152 opponents’ batting average, and 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings, which is arguably the most dominant performance of any pitcher in baseball during that time.

Over the same span League has thrown 227 innings with a 3.34 ERA, .241 opponents’ batting average, and 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be perfectly good late-inning relief work and perhaps even closer-worthy if not for the fact that Jansen is on the same team.

  1. randygnyc - May 15, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    I’ve lost interest in the Dodgers except for four people;
    1) Kershaw- talented lefty that if healthy has a the potential to be an all time great (has a great BB body too)
    2) josh Beckett- will always remain interested until he’s forced out of the league
    3) Mattingly- still holding a soft spot
    4) the greatest Dodger of them all, Mr. Vin Scully. God bless every breath that man takes!!

  2. realgone2 - May 15, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Fools and their money are soon parted.

  3. cardinalcrazy - May 15, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    My fantasy league baseball team just took a hit. Why didn’t I draft Jansen as a backup?? Whyyyyyyyyyy!!!

    • pillowporkers - May 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      your loss is my gain. I drafted kenley in both my leagues. Looks like that may be starting to pay some dividends…

  4. shackdelrio - May 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    League is terrible. The contact made no sense last fall when they gave it to him.

  5. pisano - May 15, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I’ll tell you what, this guy is tough as nails if you use right, I think the main problem with League is he’s a setup guy, seventh or eighth inning. He doesn’t seem to have a closers mentality, much the same as Alfredo Aceves. If both these guys are used the proper way to suit their mentality they would be fine. Good closers are hard to find, setup men seem to be a dime a dozen.

    • jwbiii - May 15, 2013 at 5:56 PM
      Career        IP    ERA
      8th inning  127.1  4.45 
      9th inning  151.1  2.68 
    • jwbiii - May 15, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      Alfredo Aceves

      Career       IP    ERA
      8th inning  42.2  3.80 
      9th inning  69.2  3.62
    • kendallsalter - May 15, 2013 at 7:16 PM

      Closer’s mentality? That’s an overused platitude that doesn’t actually tell you anything about a player. No one is inside that player’s head, so you can’t really judge a mindset on performance. League had 37 saves in 2011. Did he lose his “mentality” after that?

  6. insidefastball - May 15, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Forget Hamilton’s deal, this might be the worst contract of the entire off-season. What were the Dodgers thinking? It is not like teams were lining up to give League a big money, multi-year deal.

  7. fearthehoody - May 15, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    As a SoCal M’s fan I laughed at League’s deal and warned my Dodger fan buddies this day would come. League is terrible

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