Two weeks after trading dependable setup man Tyler Clippard, the Nationals filled a hole in their bullpen by agreeing to a one-year contract with free agent Casey Janssen on Wednesday, a source confirmed to MLB.com. The deal, which the club has not confirmed, guarantees Janssen $5 million, including a buyout for a 2016 mutual option, according to FOXSports.com.
Janssen, a 33-year old right-hander, has experience closing, with 90 career saves to his credit. He probably won’t be asked to do that in DC with Drew Storen the incumbent. But what Janssen could do is take up some of the innings that Tyler Clippard used to eat.
I say could on purpose. Janssen had some big problems last season, as his velocity, K rate and ground ball rates all dropped precipitously in the middle of the season. Some think that might have to do with the severe food poisoning he contracted during last year’s All-Star break.
If that’s all it was and it just took him the better part of the summer to regain his full strength, that’s one thing and he can be a valuable arm in the back of the Nats bullpen for a relative bargain price and little long-term investment.
However, if that’s just narrative and he was a) injured and hiding it; or b) is washed up, he’ll be just another in the long line of veteran bullpen arms Mike Rizzo has brought into DC on the cheap hoping to strike gold.