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.