The Cubs have been linked to Kenley Jansen since they beat the Dodgers in the NLCS and advanced to The World Series. The front office would like to address the bullpen this off-season, especially the backend, and with Jansen available the connection was made.
Several have predicted the Cubs will sign Jansen despite the front office’s history of not signing free agent closers to long-term, high-dollar contracts.
Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday “the Cubs have done background work on free-agent closer Kenley Jansen, but their inquiries appear to be more a matter of due diligence that the foundation of a serious pursuit.”
Rosenthal explained the front office pretty much did two off-seasons worth of free agent spending a year ago when the Cubs signed John Lackey, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward. Rosenthal echoed what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been stating publicly.
“The last thing the Cubs want to do is overspend on a closer when it might cost them a chance to make a run next winter at Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani … or pursue other opportunities in the future.”
Kenley Jansen is expected to sign a record contract for a reliever this winter. And with Brett Cecil receiving the ridiculous contract from the Cardinals (four years, $30.5 million with full no-trade clause), Jansen will get a deal well in excess of the five-year, $87.5 million predicted by Jim Bowden and likely more than the five years and $90 million Bowden thinks Aroldis Chapman will receive.