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Dodgers switch closers, dumping Brandon League for Kenley Jansen

Jun 12, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

Kenley Jansen AP

Overshadowed by the bench-clearing ugliness of last night’s Dodgers-Diamondbacks game is that Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly finally decided to change closers, announcing beforehand that Kenley Jansen would replace Brandon League in the ninth inning.

Jansen has always been the far superior pitcher, but Mattingly has repeatedly resisted making a change despite League posting a 6.00 ERA and allowing runs in 11 of his 24 appearances. No doubt the front office overpaying League with a three-year, $22.5 million contract played a part.

Meanwhile, since debuting four years ago Jansen has a 2.27 ERA and incredible 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 174 appearances, including a 2.45 ERA and 45/6 K/BB ratio in 33 innings this season. During that same four-year span League has a 3.43 ERA and 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings. It’s been obvious for a while now who the Dodgers’ best reliever is.

  1. baseballici0us - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    It’s about time.

  2. yahmule - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    The faint but steady buzzing noise returns to the back of Don Mattingly’s skull and it will only go away when the Dodgers sign another “proven” closer like Jorge Julio or Braden Looper.

  3. thebadguyswon - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    All the more reason to avoid Don Mattingly as a manager. He used League over Jansen because league had more time in MLB and makes more money.

  4. blabidibla - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I’m not blaming Mattingly on this one. Front office promised League the job when they signed him and I don’t think Mattingly has enough “juice” with the organization to overrule the GM.

    Yes, that makes Mattingly a weak manager, but that’s what happens when you begin the year on thin ice.

  5. ctc73 - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Never understood this crazy signing to begin with. The Dodgers already had Jansen as a lights out closer, albeit they had some concerns with his heart problems, but League lost his job to The Bartender in Seattle. Mattingly’s hands have been tied, but it sounds like The Dodgers brass is giving Mattingly a little more free reign these days.

  6. denny65 - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Didn’t think it was possible, but League has gone beyond his abysmal performance in Seattle. The guy’s headed for the exit door.

  7. yahmule - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Oh, okay, so what was this dummy’s excuse for going with Javy Guerra over Jansen for the first month of last year?

    The reason given by Mattingly was that Guerra had more experience in the role. Answers like that make me question his intelligence. At best, they indicate he holds the intelligence of others in low regard.

    Do you think Mattingly had absolutely zero input about whether resigning League was a good idea?

    Last year, it looked to me like he leaped at the opportunity to remove Jansen from the closer role when his heart problems resurfaced. Then he was perfectly content to leave League in as closer when Jansen was cleared medically.

    A couple weeks ago, it seemed like he was ready to make the move and Jansen had the incredibly poor timing to have a couple less than stellar outings. I knew Mattingly would hold it against the kid and damned if he didn’t. He was so happy for the excuse to run League out there to blow two more Clayton Kershaw victories.

    Just watch how short Jansen’s leash will be if the Dodgers keep Mattingly around.

  8. jkaflagg - Jun 12, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Always felt that League was basically an insurance policy in case Jansen’s health problems continued; they didn’t trust Belisario or Guerra, and League pitched well last year. Anyone can see Jansen has far better stuff than League, who should be effective as a setup man.

    The only unusual thing was the big contract, but that’s the “new” Dodgers; they will pay the tab and take a chance on guys if needed. You can’t really complain (at least until next years cable TV bill comes); that’s how they got Puig, who many felt was a risky investment.

  9. duckthefodgers - Jun 12, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Dont you have to be winning for a closer to be a factor?

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