The Miami Marlins have never been shy of making a splash in free agency, and they might have eyes on another surprise signing this winter.
Miami's search for bullpen help has reportedly led them to target free-agent closer Kenley Jansen, according to Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball. Heyman also noted that Miami - which is coming off a disappointing 79-83 season - is considering him as part of a possible move to build up a high-powered bullpen, while turning to cheaper options for the rotation.
Jansen would at least be familiar with one important member of the Marlins organization in manager Don Mattingly. The pair were together in Los Angeles for several seasons when Mattingly managed the Dodgers, before departing to Miami after the 2015 season.
Jansen is one of the top free-agent relievers on the open market, and has garnered plenty of interest. The 29-year-old is coming off the best season of his career in which he saved 47 games and posted a career-best 0.670 WHIP while earning his first career All-Star appearance. For his work he was named the winner of the 2016 Trevor Hoffman Award as the National League's best reliever.
Bidding for Jansen, who is expected to get a large contract, would represent a shift in position for the Marlins. Though the team has a history of signing big-money free agents, having done so in 1997 and again 2012, they've usually sold off those high-priced stars within a year of signing them to cut payroll. Miami's 2016 payroll finished at just over $74-million, according to Cot's Contracts; in 2015, they boasted the league's smallest payroll.