Astros Rumors: Could trade for Kenley Jansen be on table after Kendall Graveman injury?

The Houston Astros have a void in their bullpen.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Kenley Jansen
Boston Red Sox pitcher Kenley Jansen / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

The Houston Astros' bullpen woes got worse on Tuesday. The Astros will be without pitcher Kendall Graveman for the entire 2024 season after it was announced that the veteran reliever underwent shoulder surgery to repair his right labrum.

This doesn't paint a rosy picture for an Astros' bullpen that was already struggling. Houston lost relievers Hector Neris and Phil Maton to free agency already this offseason, and while a reunion with the latter could be a possibility, the Astros are going to need a lot more in order to compete for the AL West crown in 2024.

Might a trade with the Boston Red Sox be in order? Until about a week ago, the Red Sox had been about as active as the Astros this offseason. But after bidding farewell to longtime starter Chris Sale, it appears as though Boston may be looking to dump another high-priced pitcher. Should the Astros swing a deal for Kenley Jansen?

Astros Rumors: Could trade for Kenley Jansen be on table after Kendall Graveman injury?

Kenley Jansen has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate this winter. While it may be unfair to say that the Red Sox are having a fire sale, shedding payroll certainly appears to be part of their offseason agenda. Jansen, after signing with the Red Sox last offseason, is in the final year of his deal that will pay him $16 million in 2024.

Though the Astros have Ryan Pressley, Bryan Abreu, and Rafael Montero at the backend of the bullpen, unless Houston's front office comes to terms with another reliever or two this offseason, the relief corps will have an inordinate number of innings to cover during the upcoming season.

The aforementioned duo of Neris and Maton accounted for over a combined 130 innings of work a year ago, and Ryne Stanek pitched over 50 innings for the Astros in 2023. It seems unlikely and illogical for Houston to cover that gap internally.

Jansen didn't have his best season with Boston in 2023, but the right-hander still posted a respectable 3.63 ERA while recording 29 saves in nearly 45 innings of work. The Red Sox showed a willingness to chip in for Sale's 2024 salary, sending $17 million to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Vaughn Grissom, so perhaps the price wouldn't be as high as Astros fans might think.

While the Astros' interest in trading for Jansen is unknown, Houston is going to have to find someway to upgrade the bullpen before the 2024 season begins.