MLB Rumors: Red Sox getting in own way of making Kenley Jansen trade

Kansas City Royals v Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals v Boston Red Sox / Nick Grace/GettyImages

It's been an offseason full of frustration for the Boston Red Sox, who despite back-to-back last-place finishes have shown no urgency whatsoever to get things turned around.

Craig Breslow and Co. continue to say the right things, but their actions have suggested that the Red Sox are perfectly content with being the slightly below-average team they've been in three of the last four seasons as long as they don't spend as much money as they once did.

The Red Sox entered the offseason with a glaring need in their rotation, and have done virtually nothing to improve it. They signed Lucas Giolito only to then go out and trade Chris Sale. Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell are available to be signed, but it's become clear that for the Red Sox to even consider bringing anyone in, they're going to need to clear some salary. They did that with the Sale trade to sign Giolito, and they did that with the Alex Verdugo trade to bring in Tyler O'Neill.

A popular name that has surfaced in trade rumors is Kenley Jansen, Boston's closer, who is in the final year of his contract. While the Red Sox are reportedly open to dealing Jansen, they're "reluctant to pay any of his salary" according to Christopher Smith and Sean McAdam of

Red Sox are making a Kenley Jansen trade impossible by refusing to eat any of his salary

Jansen as a trade target is incredibly intriguing. He's racked up 420 career saves in his 14-year career and remains a solid closer to this day, as he posted a 3.63 ERA in the 2023 season, converting 29 of his 33 save opportunities. He struggled in limited September action, but Kenley's ERA sat at 2.74 at the end of August. He was an All-Star last season and can be an important piece for many contenders if he can be acquired via trade.

The problem with any Jansen trade is his contract. The 36-year-old is set to make $16 million for the 2024 season. That's a lot of money for a reliever. In fact, Jansen's $16 million AAV is the third-highest for a reliever only behind Edwin Diaz and Josh Hader according to Spotrac. Jansen is good, but he's not Diaz or Hader good.

For teams to be seriously interested in acquiring Kenley, Boston would have to eat at least some of the money. Considering the fact that they're the Boston Red Sox, a team that should have virtually unlimited money at their disposal, you'd think they'd be willing to kick in a bit of cash to get teams interested and to get a meaningful return.

Even if a team like the Phillies or Dodgers is willing to take Kenley at the full $16 million, Boston would not get anything worthwhile in return. That's likely why Jansen hasn't been dealt yet. That might change if they're willing to eat some of the money. Again, it's only one year. Why Boston is refusing to do so is mind-boggling.

If shedding the full $16 million is what gets the Red Sox to sign Snell or Montgomery, perhaps it'll be worth it, even if the Red Sox get a lackluster return. Until that happens though, Red Sox fans have every right to be skeptical. Based on what we've seen this offseason, it wouldn't be shocking to see them shed the money and refuse to re-invest it into the team.