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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Dan B January 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm
    I read this article and don’t give it much thought as I view it as a minor transaction by a team looking to win not just a pennant but a championship. On the other hand, if this was a move by the Mets, it would of been the second biggest move of the offseason and a large percentage of the money spent this offseason by a team who is trying win enough that its fans think they might have a chance at a wild card. It is like the Mets were in a different league and they occasionally play exhibition games against the Nats.
  2. norme January 29, 2015 at 12:16 am
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a GM such as Mike Rizzo and an owner who allows him to make these kind of moves, like Ted Lerner?
  3. argonbunnies January 29, 2015 at 12:31 am
    Janssen was fun to watch in 2013, dominating without velocity, Huston Street-style. I wonder if teams will ever remember that a huge fastball isn’t always the best recipe for a closer. How many career saves did Doug Jones have? Over 300. I also seem to remember a guy with no fastball coming in and hitting the glove for 15 pitches with a great change-up — Trevor Hoffman. Who’s to say Shaun Marcum couldn’t do that? Heck, if the Mets can’t get anything back for Gee, maybe they should see what he can do for one-inning stints…
    • Dan B January 29, 2015 at 10:17 am
      Gee in the bullpen where he could also be an emergency starter? Not at five million a year! That is not the small market way. Besides, that would be creative and that is not the Met way.

      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.

  4. argonbunnies January 30, 2015 at 6:43 pm
    It’s been a good week for Mets prospects in my eyes. Although I still think our minors are brimming with barely-average regulars rather than stars, most other teams don’t seem to be better off. If the Mets really do have the minors’ 2nd best RH pitcher, 4th best first baseman & second baseman, 6th best catcher, 8th best LH pitcher, and a shortstop and two outfielders in the top 100 overall, that’s better than most of the competition.

    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”.