Los Angeles Dodgers superstar closer Kenley Jansen is in a great spot, with a Dodgers team that goes for it every year and his own near-record-for-a-reliever $80 million contract that was signed a winter ago in hand. But he is worried about the other guys – the stars and the rest. And the other teams, too. Right now, Jansen seems even more worried about those other teams, and he wonders if they are even trying to compete with teams like the Dodgers. A winter where as many as half the teams did nothing or next-to-nothing of significance may be good for the Dodgers in the short-term, but he wonders if it’s good for the sport to have teams with no chance before even one game is played. In an interview with FanRag Sports, in this winter that still sees an unprecedented 45 free agents jobless into March — and some teams spending at shockingly low levels despite rising MLB revenues that hit $9 billion last year — Jansen estimated that only six of 15 National League teams are trying. Which puts the NL-champion Dodgers in a very good place, at least in the near term. But in Jansen’s estimation, it puts the sport as a whole in a very bad place. He reiterated his belief that while a strike isn’t preferable, it may have to come to that at some point. Without naming the teams, four of the offending nine teams in Jansen’s estimation become obvious (you’ll see why) when the Dodgers closer gave his rundown of the locales of the teams with effort, and those without. Specifically, Jansen says he believes three teams are trying in the NL West, two in the NL Central and only one in the NL East. “There’s one team competing for the title in the NL East!” Jansen says, incredulously. Jansen referred a time or two to the effort deficit as “tanking,” and he knows that’s a sensitive word, depending on how you define it. He knows that stirs up some bad feelings, and while he is unafraid to mince words, he couched it more often about how teams’ efforts seem to be lacking rather than an all-out effort to lose. “They’re just not trying that hard,” Jansen said. “I think they are competing for the championship of revenue (profit). I think they are trying to see who can have the most revenue (profit). I think they don’t care about the trophy. No disrespect, but we want to see more teams be competitive.” Jansen is also worried about the 10 or more really good players in their primes who were surely expecting multiyear deals but remain free agents, and he is also thinking about young stars, like Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, who will be free agents in coming years. But he even is more concerned about the competitive balance – which clearly seems out of whack this year, when there would appear to be seven superteams, the Dodgers among them – and the game itself.
Kenley Jansen worried about MLB effort imbalance
Fanrag Sports | Mar 5