The Marlins were adamant about building a “super bullpen” in 2017 and eventually did so, signing free agents Brad Ziegler and Janichi Tazawa. Before those two were signed, though, Miami was reportedly in pursuit of Kenley Jansen.
One of the top free agent relievers available, Jansen made sense for the Marlins because of his connection to Manager Don Mattingly. Nonetheless, the club’s offer to Jansen was backloaded, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, which could have factored into his decision to re-sign with the Dodgers.
Jansen would have been paid $7 million, $9 milllion, $11 million and about $25 million in the last two years of the deal, according to Heyman. Giancarlo Stanton’s extension was also backloaded, but he determined it would benefit the team if he took less money initially.
The Marlins haven’t been known for signing major free agents, which makes the team’s decision to even consider the possibility of signing Jansen notable. Given the nature of the proposed deal, the club’s reasoning is apparent.
Jansen was coming off of one of the best seasons of his career during which he pitched to a 1.83 ERA and 1.44 FIP over 68.2 innings. He likely felt he deserved to be paid more than $7 in the first year of a new contract.
Miami’s bullpen will likely emerge as a strength in 2017, but it would have been even better with Jansen closing games. Now, the “super bullpen” will rely on several alternatives.