Even after the Washington Nationals traded Tyler Clippard to the Oakland A's in return for infielder Yunel Escobar, GM Mike Rizzo said he was comfortable with the organizational depth in terms of hard-throwing relievers.
"We feel that it's a place of depth and strength for us, is power arms," Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.
"Not only at the big league level, but filtering up through the minor leagues, and a place that although it will be difficult to replace a Tyler Clippard, we think that we have the personnel and the depth to really put together a championship-caliber bullpen."
"We think we're going to be a really good bullpen," he said, "and something that National League teams aren't going to want to face."
In spite of Rizzo's confidence in the Nationals' in-house options, there were still rumors about interest in adding another veteran arm to the back end of the bullpen since the Clippard deal left them with a number of raw or at least unproven options in the eighth inning with Drew Storen as the closer.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported then that one potential target was former Toronto Blue Jays' closer Casey Janssen:
#Nationals also looking for bullpen help. Have checked in on Casey Janssen, others.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 18, 2015
Janssen saved 25 games for Toronto in a +0.1 fWAR campaign in 2014.
The 33-year-old reliever put up a 3.94 ERA, a 4.14 FIP, seven walks (1.38 BB/9) and 28 Ks (5.52 K/9) in 50 games and 45 ⅔ IP last season.
Janssen reportedly suffered from a bad case of food poisoning last summer and then put up a 6.46 ERA and a .299/.343/.526 line against after the All-Star Break.
He saved 34 games in a +1.3 fWAR campaign in 2013, posting a 2.56 ERA, a 2.74 FIP, 13 walks (2.22 BB/9) and 50 Ks (8.54 K/9) in 52 ⅔ IP.
According to another report by Rosenthal this morning, the Nationals have signed the eight-year veteran to a one-year deal at $5M guaranteed with a mutual option for 2016:
Source: #Nationals sign free-agent reliever Casey Janssen, one year with mutual option, $5M guaranteed including option buyout.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 28, 2015