Dodgers Swap Out Jansen for Kuo

Dylan Hernandez with some unexpected news:

The #Dodgers have reinstated LHP Hong-Chih Kuo and optioned RHP Kenley Jansen to Triple-A Albuquerque.

It’s great to have Kuo back, of course, assuming that he’s healthy and ready to go, which remains to be seen. It’s the demotion of Jansen that’s somewhat confusing. Obviously, his ERA of 7.43 is pretty ugly, though 9 of the 11 earned runs he’s allowed came in just two games – one of which was his season debut.

Since allowing four earned runs to the Giants on April 2, Jansen’s pitched in 12.1 innings over 10 games. In that time, he’s struck out 20 against 6 walks, allowing a line of .196/.288/.391. He did have a meltdown on April 19 against the Braves, giving up five earned runs in the 9th inning of a game that the Dodgers were already losing, but has been excellent in the three games since: 9 strikeouts and 2 walks in 4.2 innings, without a hit.

Yet Lance Cormier, who’s pitched just once in the last two weeks, and only once has made it through an appearance without giving up a run, remains. I assume that this falls under Ned Colletti’s usual m.o. of keeping control over as many players as possible, and I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world for Jansen to get more experience in a lower-pressure environment, but with the bullpen struggling as much as it has been, it certainly seems like an odd choice to send down the guy who’s striking out 14.85 men per nine innings. That’s the highest rate of anyone in baseball this year with at least 13 innings pitched, and it’s the 8th best seasonal rate in major league history (obviously, in a tiny sample size).

Jansen will be back soon, and Cormier, most likely, won’t be. So this isn’t a fatal, crushing mistake. It’s just an unexpected choice to look at your bullpen full of guys who don’t miss bats – like Matt Guerrier, Cormier, and lately Jonathan Broxton – and send down the one guy who really does.

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  1. [...] that, he still had a 22/8 K/BB in 13.1 innings through the first month of the season, making his demotion to the minors on May 1 somewhat shocking: Since allowing four earned runs to the Giants on April 2, Jansen’s pitched in 12.1 innings over [...]

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