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Roster review: Casey Janssen

Oct 31, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT


Age on Opening Day 2016: 34

How acquired: Signed as free agent Feb. 2015

MLB service time: 9 years, 63 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $3.5 million

Contract status: $7 million mutual option for 2016 with $1.5 million buyout

2015 stats: 48 G, 40 IP, 38 H, 22 R, 22 ER, 5 HR, 8 BB, 27 K, 1.150 WHIP, 2-5, 4.95 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 0.0 WAR

Quotable: “It’s kind of a season with a lot of what ifs. I think on a personal level, I underachieved a little bit. I think a lot of people would have a similar statement. We dealt with a lot of injuries, but the bottom line is we didn’t get it done. We had the pieces in place to have a special season. It didn’t happen.” – Janssen

2015 analysis: Casey Janssen was a late signing last offseason as the intended replacement for Tyler Clippard as the Nationals’ setup man. That was the original plan, but it did not go accordingly, and what ultimately amounted to a disappointing year with the Nats got off to an ominous start. Janssen was sidelined in spring training with right shoulder tendinitis and didn’t make his debut with the Nationals until May 23.

Janssen was at first very good. He pitched scoreless outings in 13 of his first 14 appearances. But overall he proved to be an inconsistent option for the eighth inning and that in part convinced the Nationals to make a move to bolster the backend of their bullpen at the deadline. We all know how that one worked out.

Janssen just couldn’t regain the form that made him one of the more consistent closers in baseball with the Blue Jays for many years. The injury didn’t help, of course, but he looked like an aging pitcher who never fully locked down a role with his new club.

2016 outlook: Janssen could very well bounce back in 2016 and again become the pitcher he once was. But if that happens, it will probably be with another team. To return to Washington, the Nats would have to pick up his $7 million option, which is a steep price if he pitches like he did this past season. They could instead buy him out for the $1.5 million it would cost and move on. Perhaps that would be best for both sides.

Janssen probably has some left in the tank, but the Nationals are in a position this offseason where they essentially need to reconstruct their entire relief core. Given Janssen’s struggles in 2015, it would be surprising if the Nationals brought him back and especially if it was with a high-leverage role in mind.

Janssen’s best bet if he still wants to pitch in late-inning situations may be getting cut loose and going to another team next season. He will be 34 on Opening Day and has some time to resurrect his career and put up a few more good years.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 31, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    Of the ‘roster review’ players considered so far, doesn’t it seem like most of them won’t be with the Nats next season?

    • trfwans - Oct 31, 2015 at 11:47 AM

      The key to this is that if Chase gets to write the review of the guy, he’s a goner. If Mark write it, he’s a keeper.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 31, 2015 at 12:44 PM


  2. rgsie - Oct 31, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    Trade Him!!!

  3. veejh - Oct 31, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    We need reliable BP arms. Janssen was not that. His velocity stinks, too. I say move on.

    • Susanfaulkner - Oct 31, 2015 at 10:26 AM

      This dude seems odd weird to me and he sucks get rid of him.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 31, 2015 at 12:57 PM

        Gee, and he speaks so well of you.

  4. NatsLady - Oct 31, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    Either due to age or the injury, Janssen seemed to lose energy before he got three outs in many innings. I think he wanted to do his job, you could see he had a good skill set, but no stamina.

    • Susanfaulkner - Oct 31, 2015 at 1:24 PM

      It’s always a shame when guys lose their stamina

      • ArVAFan - Oct 31, 2015 at 6:14 PM

        Yeah, especially in the middle of an appearance.

      • Section 222 - Oct 31, 2015 at 7:37 PM


  5. chaz11963 - Oct 31, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    If you recall, Janssen was extremely disappointed in his own performance. I think he may have been surprised at his own ineffectiveness, having been so dominant for so long. No way the Nats can bring him back for $7m and take that kind of risk. He can’t be traded; who would take on that contract and what could the Nats possibly hope to get in return? They will have to buy him out at $1.5m and let him go. I wish someone would pay me $1.5m to go away!

    The Nats may very well be eating a lot of contract money next season- MW, Janssen, Papelbon- ?, maybe even Storen, but he likely has some sell low trade value

  6. tcostant - Nov 2, 2015 at 8:57 AM


  7. janebeard - Nov 2, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    I thought Casey was a lovely guy. And I hope he ends up elsewhere.

    • Susanfaulkner - Nov 2, 2015 at 10:55 AM

      I thought sometimes he didn’t look prepared like he would come in like he was taking off guard. Yes I’m sure when your in the bullpen you never know when your going to pitch but that’s your job. I don’t see other pitchers look like that.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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