Could a Kenley Jansen trade offer a bullpen solution for the Cubs?

With the Boston Red Sox looking to shed payroll, a trade of the veteran reliever could be on the table - and could entice teams like the Cubs looking for bullpen help.

Boston Red Sox v Chicago Cubs
Boston Red Sox v Chicago Cubs / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages
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After unloading Chris Sale in a shocking trade with the Atlanta Braves, Red Sox president of baseball ops - and former Cubs front office exec - Craig Breslow reportedly isn't done cutting payroll. One way he could go about shedding some dollars heading into 2024 is a trade of veteran reliever Kenley Jansen, who could be of interest for a team like Chicago in need of proven bullpen arms.

Jansen is no longer the dominant force he was during his lengthy run with the Dodgers, but still has something to offer. Under team control for just one more season at a $16 million price tag, the right-hander is coming off the fourth All-Star selection of his career in a year he notched 29 saves for Boston.

Of course, early in his career, Jansen established himself as one of the most feared closers in all of baseball. From 2010 to 2017, he made 474 appearances, working to a 2.08 ERA, 1.84 FIP and 14.0 K/9 at the back end of Los Angeles' bullpen. Since then, he's come back to earth a bit, but has, by and large, still been dependable in recent years.

Cubs could stick to their approach, while still adding experience

Given the Red Sox' primary goal in moving Jansen would be to cut his contract, the return would probably be pretty palatable for a team like Chicago - and, again, with no long-term risk, it fits the mold of how Jed Hoyer has gone about building a bullpen during his tenure.

Pairing Jansen with Adbert Alzolay in the late innings would give new manager Craig Counsell a pair of powerful weapons - and, in Jansen, the Cubs would gain a guy who's pitched in the biggest moments under the brightest lights. This seems to be a far likelier route than handing a record-shattering contract to Josh Hader, but I think I speak for everyone as we close the book on 2023 that, at this point, we'll take any sort of movement from Hoyer and the front office.

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