Mets Do Not Need Kenley Jansen
John Harper makes a case in the New York Daily News that the Mets need to obtain Kenley Jansen to return to the postseason stating, “If the Mets want to take a huge step toward re-claiming that supremacy next year and beyond, they should make a big splash this off-season by signing Kenley Jansen.” He figures the Mets could obtain Jansen for a four year $54 million contract. His reasoning is flawed.
First of all, there is nothing about the Mets to suggest they can win a bidding war against the Dodgers for Jansen’s services. This doesn’t even account for other bigger spenders like the Cubs, Nationals, and Yankees also potentially getting involved. More importantly, there is no underlying need for Jansen.
Furthermore, the Mets already have a dominant closer in Jeurys Familia. Over the past two seasons, Familia has accumulated more appearances, more innings, and more saves than Jansen. Additionally, despite the current narrative floating around, Familia has been better in the postseason. In 13 postseason appearances, Familia has a 2.30 ERA and a 0.638 WHIP. In 15 postseason apperances, Jansen has a 3.38 ERA and a 1.250 WHIP. People forget that because Familia’s defense let him down in the World Series and he threw a bad pitch to Conor Gillaspie in the Wild Card Game. They also forget because Jansen has had back-to-back great performances in the postseason. That makes you forget the times Jansen has failed or his 6.75 NLDS ERA.
More important than that, the Mets have Addison Reed in the eighth inning. It is quite possible there was no better reliever in the National League than Reed this year. Reed had an amazing season that saw him shatter the Mets record for holds with him recording 40 this season. It’s all the more impressive when you consider Reed made the third most in the majors with the fifth best 1.97 ERA, and the highest WAR among relievers (2.9). Long story short, Reed has the eighth inning locked down.
Overall, between Familia and Reed the Mets have already made games a seven inning game. With the Mets young starters going 6+ per game, they don’t need the 7-8-9 dominant trio that other teams require. In fact, up until the rash of Mets starting pitching injuries this season, the seventh inning wasn’t an issue at all. Terry Collins was able to utilize his full bullpen, notably Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins (a pending free agent), and when healthy, Jim Henderson, to get through the inning. It wasn’t until Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman took over starting pitching spots that the seventh inning was an issue. It should be noted by that time, Fernando Salas (a pending free agent) locked it down.
The overriding point is the Mets do not need a three headed monster coming out of the bullpen to return to the postseason. Instead, the Mets need their starting pitchers healthy, and they need to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes. Therein lies the rub. As noted by MMO., Mets payroll commitments for the 2017 season already hover around $108 million, and that is before the Mets seek to re-sign Cespedes, Neil Walker, and/or Bartolo Colon.
If the Mets were to re-sign Cespedes to and average annual value commensurate with his 2015 salary figure, the Mets payroll would jump to $135 million. Keep in mind, the Mets 2016 Opening Day payroll was $135 million, and the team had to stretch it to that point to accomodate Cespedes. It is hard to imagine the Mets expanding on this payroll figure when they had a higher payroll in 2016 and didn’t have a long postseason run to offset some of the cost.
If you add Jansen at an average annual value of $13.5 million, that would increase the Mets 2017 payroll to $121.5 million before address the Cespedes, second base, and fifth starter issues. Adding Jansen, a very nice but unnecessary piece, only serves to build a more dominant bullpen at the expense of building a complete team. Adding Jansen overlooks the real need for the Mets, which is their starting pitchers returning next season fully healthy. Overall, the model the Mets shouldn’t be looking at is the three headed monster in the bullpen. Rather, the Mets should be looking at their 2015 model which is being emulated by the Cleveland Indians this postseason:
A dominant young starting pitcher going as deep into the game as possible and then a two-headed monster coming out of the bullpen to win the game.
The Mets already have that in place. What they do not have in place is Cespedes. They cannot do anything to damage their chances to lock him up and return to their 2015 form.