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.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
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.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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