Sometimes, it is about more than just the money. Kenley Jansen is already wealthy by almost any standard as he has earned over $24 million in his career which is the equivalent of an executive who makes $240,000 for 100 years. Jansen was 12-years-old when his father suffered a stroke, and that shaped his life to different priorities than other kids his age.
Jansen grew up real quick from that experience then leaving his home when he was signed by the Dodgers as a 16-year-old from his native Curacao. Jansen was signed as a catcher and had no wealth as his bonus money went to his family when he signed that contract.
Jansen was 21-years-old when he was converted from a catcher to a relief pitcher and made his debut the following season. Fast forward to free agency, and Jansen had to test free agency to get near market value. With the Marlins and the Nationals in the bidding, Jansen got close to his targeted amount.
Yesterday, Jansen’s contract became official for $80 million with a 2-year opt-out and some money backloaded to make the deal work to return to the only team he has ever known. Call it a hometown discount, or call it loyalty. Call it whatever you want, but according to Jansen’s agent, Adam Katz, the Nationals offered more money than the Dodgers, and as we reported early on, the Nationals offered $85 million.
“The Nationals’ presentation was exceptional and generous and for more money,” Katz said. “They conducted recruitment of this player in a high caliber professional way. Kenley and I were very impressed. At the end of the day Kenley loves Los Angeles, his Dodger family, the fans here and although money was a factor, it wasn’t the most important thing.”
There are plenty of unknowns in the intricacies of offers like backloading dollars into deferrals, but the Nationals also had the advantage of tax benefits for non-residents in Washington, DC which was also a distinct advantage over any California team for state taxes.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, they did not get Mark Melancon or Kenley Jansen, and now appear to be in the market for bullpen depth and will allow Spring Training to be the try-out for the Opening Day closer.