The Boston Red Sox have had a better start to the 2024 campaign than expected, but that isn't saying much considering how low expectations were for this team entering the year. Sitting at the .500 mark with a 26-26 record heading into play on May 26th, the Red Sox are in third place in the American League, but that's more of an indication of how bad the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays have been, rather than how good they have been.

Barring an unforeseen run into playoff contention, the Sox are expected to operate as sellers at the trade deadline this season, and arguably their top trade candidate is veteran closer Kenley Jansen. Rumors surrounding Jansen's future with the team have been swirling for awhile now, and the latest reports indicate that he almost certainly will find himself on a new team by the time the trade deadline strikes.

“The Boston Red Sox plan to trade All-Star veteran closer Kenley Jansen by the trade deadline. He’s earning $16 million this year and the Red Sox have no interest in bringing him back.” – Bob Nightengale, USA Today

Kenley Jansen's time with Red Sox likely coming to an end

Boston Red Sox pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Fenway Park.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Jansen latched on with Boston in 2023, and rediscovered his form along the way, as he earned his first All-Star selection since the 2018 campaign. While he's not the same dominant force he was during his prime, Jansen still is a valuable back of the bullpen arm who experience closing games on the biggest stages the game has to offer.

In 2024 so far, Jansen has been solid (1-1, 3.24 ERA, 8 SV, 21 K, 1.32 WHIP), but his talents are being wasted on a relatively uncompetitive Red Sox team. Boston isn't holding a lot of leads late in games that need protecting, so Jansen often finds himself going a few days between appearances right now, which isn't exactly ideal for a top-end closer.

Jansen's contract is set to expire after the 2024 campaign, so he could be a perfect rental option for a playoff hopeful or de facto World Series contender. There's no doubt that Jansen has regressed a bit as he's gotten older, but you can never have enough talented arms in your bullpen if you are a team hoping to win a title, which is why there will likely be several teams interested in him.

It's telling that Boston's penny-pinching ownership team is already looking towards the trade deadline, as moving Jansen would allow them to shed a bit more salary, while also hopefully picking up an impact prospect in return. This is pretty much par for the course for the Red Sox at this point, and while the trade deadline is still pretty far down the line, it's looking like the team is already plotting for Jansen's departure from the team.