Nationals Sign Casey Janssen
Cross another reliever off the free-agent list, as the Nationals have signed Casey Janssen to a one-year, $5M contract.
Interesting pickup by the Nats; my guess is that they see Janssen as the replacement for Tyler Clippard, who was traded earlier this month to the Athletics. If Janssen can return to his pre-2014 form, the Nats won’t miss Clippard. However, Janssen had a rough go of it last season, sporting his highest ERA since 2009 and lowest K/9 rate of his career. The former can be, in part, blamed on a mid-season food-poisoning episode. The bloated ERA aside, what is more stomach-turning (pardon the puns) was Janssen’s sudden inability to miss bats. That had nothing to do with eating a bad clam, but rather, the fact that he’s lost nearly 3 MPH from his fastball since 2012. Why has he lost velocity? Perhaps the issue is related to a sore shoulder and back problems that have been suffered over the past year or so. Janssen was never a flamethrower, and always relied on pinpoint command combined with keeping batters off-balance, so he’s a good bet to get back to something near his previous form. Additionally, it won’t hurt to be pitching in the NL for the first time. All in all, a pretty good, safe, low-risk, high-return signing by Washington.
In less significant news, veteran backstop John Baker has agreed with the Mariners to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training.
Not much else happening on the hot stove.
By the way, what are the chances of Syndergaard being promoted before Super Two status is past? After all, this is suppose to be the year the Mets are close to the Small Market Championship — aka the Wild Card.
We looked at Omar’s vs Sandy’s minor league talent hauls a few months back and came away unimpressed, but that didn’t factor in the competition. The minor leagues simply aren’t brimming with studs right now.
I’d still rather have the Dodgers’ slew of high-upside guys (Law ranked them 10th) than the Mets’ depth (Law ranked them 4th), but still, being clearly in the top third is nice.
Unfortunately, the proper complement to growing average players is to import stars, and the Mets clearly aren’t doing that. So good playoff odds aren’t anywhere on the horizon. Distant ones may be here soon, though. Not what I want, but at least theoretically could be a stepping stone…
P.S. The one bit of bad news I’ve seen is on Matz — “#3 upside”, “stuff doesn’t match the stats”, “bad delivery for injuries, control & command”.