Multiple media outlets reported on Wednesday that the Washington Nationals signed veteran reliever Casey Janssen to a one-year deal that gives the defending NL East Champions another arm with experience as a closer at the back of the bullpen.
In an interview on MLB Network Radio after the deal was announced, Nats' lefty Matt Thornton talked about the addition of the former Toronto Blue Jays' closer.
"I'm surprised he's just now getting a job, honestly," Thornton said.
"I've been a big fan of Casey. He's not flashy. But man, he can go out there and pitch. And I say, 'He can hit a gnat's ass with almost anything,' you know. He's a great competitor, and goes out there and from what I've seen from the other side, he does the job and shuts the door and I'm sure on a team like ours he's going to take whatever job they give him and run with it. He's fixing to have a great year."
A set-up man to take over for the recently-traded Tyler Clippard? A backup closer unless Drew Storen struggles or just needs a night off?
Another late-inning bullpen arm to help out in the late innings while Aaron Barrett and Blake Treinen learn on the job?
Thornton on Janssen: surprised he's just now getting a job. I've been a big fan of Casey, great competitor & he shuts the door #Nationals— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 28, 2015
As one writer put it yesterday, the one obvious hole on the Nationals' roster appears to have now been filled...
NATS BEAT: Nationals sign Janssen
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
• "Janssen, who has spent his entire career with the Blue Jays, is an ideal fit." - "With Janssen on board, Nationals' roster has no holes" - Phil Rogers, nationals.com
• "The deal adds a former closer to a bullpen that lost several key arms this winter." - "Nationals sign veteran reliever Casey Janssen" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Structure of Janssen deal, per source: $3.5M salary this year, plus $1.5M buyout of mutual option. So guarantee is $5M.— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) January 28, 2015
• "Janssen, 33, likely becomes the Nationals’ new setup man while also providing some ninth-inning insurance in case anything happens to closer Drew Storen." - "Washington Nationals sign veteran reliever Casey Janssen" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "The Nationals might have just found their replacement for Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats sign reliever Casey Janssen to one-year deal (updated)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Janssen has experience in that capacity, with 90 career saves, including 81 in 91 chances over the past three years." - "Source: Janssen, Nats agree to 1-year deal" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com
New life skills coordinator Rick Ankiel on MASN: "When I saw the Scherzer signing, I was like 'wow, they're going for it.'" #Nationals— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) January 28, 2015
• "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." - "AP Source: RHP Casey Janssen, Nationals agree to contract" - Howard Fendrich, Washington Times
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Janssen added to Nats' bullpen
• "The one place where Washington seems a little thin -- I don't want to say vulnerable, just not as deep as the other parts of the roster -- is in the bullpen." - "Nationals address bullpen depth with lottery ticket Casey Janssen" - Mike Axisa, CBSSports.com
• "Janssen’s groundball rate fell, from 48% to just over 34%. His career mark, last season included, is 47%." - "Just What Happened to Casey Janssen?" - Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs Baseball
FanGraphs: Just What Happened to Casey Janssen? http://t.co/8aQGm5DFwl— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) January 28, 2015
• "Janssen spent three seasons as Toronto's closer, converting on 81 of 91 save opportunities. He was effective, but not exactly lights out." - "Report: Nats sign Casey Janssen to help back-end of bullpen" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew
Story on the #Nationals adding Casey Janssen on a one-year, $5M deal: http://t.co/kX8GaMfjvW pic.twitter.com/ygvvKgzj4U— MLB Daily Dish (@mlbdailydish) January 28, 2015
NATS BEAT: Non-Janssen stories - ST home update +
• "Drinking water protections stand in the way of the proposed $135-million spring training facility on 160 acres in West Palm Beach to be shared by the Nationals and Astros." - "Nationals’ spring training hopes in Palm Beach County have another hurdle" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Though there’s some level of uncertainty about how Zimmerman will perform at first base, there’s ample reason to believe he’ll be just fine there." - "Nationals roster preview: Ryan Zimmerman" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
Just how good is Trea Turner? Read more on the #Nats’ No. 2 prospect: http://t.co/PWCgcmw4er pic.twitter.com/FnrsW80gFN— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) January 28, 2015
• "Baseball America editor-in-chief John Manuel, who is based in North Carolina, got a first-hand look at the former N.C. State infielder and liked what he witnessed." - "Baseball America No. 2 Nats prospect: Trea Turner" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: MASN Update + Franchise history + Scherzer stories
In SBD Closing Bell, MLB, Nats file new batch of documents in NY Supreme Court, firing back at MASN claims of bias in media rights dispute— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) January 28, 2015
• "The latest documents, filed in advance of a scheduled March 2 trial in the New York Supreme Court, contend MASN is stalling to prevent an MLB panel's award in favor of the Nationals from taking effect." - "MLB, Washington Nationals argue MASN is stalling to avoid paying Nats" - Eric Fisher, Baltimore Business Journal
MLB re MASN: no legal or factual basis exists for this court to reform the [MLB-O's] agreement to allow arbitration elsewhere— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) January 28, 2015
Nats claim in new court docs that MASN's suit a stall tactic to avoid paying higher rights fees as per RSDC ruling— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) January 28, 2015
• "Zimmerman is the only player to have been with the club for it's entirety, coming up in late 2005. He's a career .286/.352/.476 (120 OPS+) hitter..." - "Franchise bests/worsts: Washington Nationals" - Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com
• "Thus, next year Scherzer will pay income taxes when the Nationals play road games in New York, Pennsylvania, and other states with income taxes, but not in Florida, Texas, or Washington (states without an income tax)." - "Max Scherzer: Did tax breaks seal the deal for Nationals ace?" - Richard C. Auxler, CSMonitor.com
Biggest surprise in skimming @baseballpro PECOTA Steven Souza projection .336 OBP .458 Slug 25 HR http://t.co/ULkrSJBJDc— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) January 28, 2015
• "Baseball pitcher and Cy Young award-winner Max Scherzer owns a condominuim with views of Phoenix's Camelback Mountain." - "15 posh Phoenix homes of sports greats" - AZCentral.com
NATSTOWN: 10th Anniversary + TED(DY) Talk
• "Each Monday through Friday next week, and each Monday through Friday the week after, the club will post a clue about the location of its Teddy Roosevelt mascot." - "Nats will reveal 10th anniversary promotional items with ’10 Days of Teddy’ campaign" - Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post
Hey #Nats fans: Get ready. Ten Days of Teddy is coming your way: http://t.co/9cSEzbx4bs pic.twitter.com/RYj6gI9ZC7— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 28, 2015
• "Each day from February 1st-10th between 11:00am and 1:00pm, Teddy Roosevelt will appear somewhere in the DC metropolitan area and tweet about his location." - "'Ten Days of Teddy' let’s fans reveal Nationals 2015 Promotion/Giveaway Schedule" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!
• "It’s Teddy here to remind you that baseball will be back in just a few short weeks! Can you believe we’re celebrating the Nationals 10-Year Anniversary this year?" - "Get ready for ‘Ten Days Of Teddy’" - Big Head Teddy, Curly W Live
NL EAST UPDATES: Ichiro Introduced + Braves add Toscano + Mets' payroll
• Phillies: "The Phillies announced significant changes to their leadership on Wednesday afternoon." - "Montgomery returns to Phillies as chairman" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com
Presenting the official 2015 Major League baseball. http://t.co/lzE53MEYdE— MLB (@MLB) January 25, 2015
• Mets: "New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred offered no objection to the Mets' payroll level, which is projected to remain less than $100 million again this season." - "Commish OK with Mets' payroll level" - Adam Rubin, ESPN New York
• Braves: "After aggressively scouring the international market over the past few months, the Braves opted to take a chance on Dian Toscano, a relatively obscure Cuban outfielder..." - "Braves announce 4-year deal with Toscano" - Mark Bowman, braves.com
.@Braves make splash in international talent pool, sign OF Dian Toscano: http://t.co/og36RHEEhU #HotStove pic.twitter.com/FsBz7DAvxi— MLB (@MLB) January 29, 2015
From Japan, Ichiro Suzuki introduced as the newest member of the Miami #Marlins: pic.twitter.com/SmUpmgp1xn— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) January 29, 2015