The Boston Red Sox are in a tough spot. They're trying to compete in 2024, but seem to have very strict budgetary restraints which is odd, considering they're the Red Sox. Once upon a time Boston used to be able to sign whoever they wanted. While they still technically can, ownership doesn't appear to be as 'all-in' as they once were.
This offseason, Boston signed Lucas Giolito to improve what was a bad rotation and then proceeded to trade their ace, Chris Sale, to Atlanta for Vaughn Grissom. They got their second baseman of the future, but arguably downgraded in the rotation going from Sale to Giolito. The Red Sox plan on adding more starting pitching, but appear to have to shed some money first.
Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reported soon after the Sale trade that "According to a baseball source, the Red Sox have told at least one free agent target that they need to shed more payroll before pursuing him as aggressively as they want to." One player he notes as an 'obvious' trade candidate is Kenley Jansen. Cotillo even hinted at the fact that it might be more about when, not if, they trade Jansen.
The Los Angeles Angels are a team in desperate need of some bullpen help. With that in mind, perhaps the Halos can swoop in and help the Red Sox out by taking on one of the best closers in the last decade.
LA Angels would be wise to pursue a Kenley Jansen trade with cheap Red Sox
To be clear, this would be purely a salary dump. The Angels would not have to give up much of anything to acquire Jansen who could come to Anaheim for a year and close games. The contract is a bit hefty as Kenley is making $16 million this season, but he's still a very solid closer who would help the Angels in a big way. The Halos have money to spend, so why not?
This past season, Jansen posted a 3.63 ERA in 51 appearances, converting 29 saves in 33 opportunities. That ERA might seem a bit high, but it was at 2.74 at the end of August before he ended his season pitching poorly in three of his final four outings. Jansen remains a really solid closer, and one who would make the Angels much better.
Even if they decide the $16 million is too much, they can always pull off a deal where Boston eats a fraction of the money and the Angels give up a slightly better return. That's what they did in the Sale deal.
The Red Sox are desperate to shed money. Jansen is the most likely player they'll use to do that. The Angels have a need in the bullpen. This feels like an easy fit. If he pitches well and the team is good, he's a big reason why. If he pitches well and the team is bad, he can be traded for something decent at the deadline. If he pitches poorly, it's only a one-year commitment. There isn't really a downside to this considering the Angels wouldn't have to give up much of anything to get him. It feels like a no-brainer for Perry Minasian.