Report: Nationals, free-agent reliever Casey Janssen agree to contract
Free-agent reliever Casey Janssen and the Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year contract with an option for 2016, a person familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday.
The person confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.
The move is an attempt by the Nationals to add late-game relief help to their bullpen following the trade that sent eighth-inning setup man Tyler Clippard, a two-time National League All-Star, to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Yunel Escobar.
Shortly after that swap this month, Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said he felt the reigning NL East champions would be able to find a substitute for Clippard without adding anyone new to the organization.
"We’ve got ourselves outstanding internal candidates. And although it’s tough to replace a Tyler Clippard, bullpens are built each and every year," Rizzo said at the time. "We feel we have the internal replacements to have a quality bullpen in 2015."
But the Nationals also had lost relievers Rafael Soriano and Ross Detwiler since the end of last season, and while Drew Storen is the incumbent as the closer, Janssen has plenty of late-game experience.
Janssen has spent his entire big league career with the Toronto Blue Jays, going 29-24 with 90 saves and a 3.52 ERA since 2006.
The past three seasons, as Toronto’s closer, he collected a total of 81 saves, including a career-high 34 with a 2.56 ERA in 2013.
In 2014, Janssen finished with 25 saves in 30 chances and a 3.94 ERA.
He had problems in the second half of the season, when he got ill.
Janssen was 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 14 saves in 16 opportunities before the All-Star break. Afterward, he was 0-3 with a 6.46 ERA and 11 saves in 14 chances.