The Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays have effectively made a bet on Casey Janssen for the 2015 season. The Nationals think that he can bounce back from his difficult 2014 season, and the Jays think that he can’t. During the next few months, we will find out who is right on this and thousands of other questions, which is one of the many reasons why baseball is fun.
I have no idea whether Janssen will bounce back, but it is clear that 2014 was a clear decline in performance for him, whether due to injury, food poisoning, or loss of effectiveness due to aging. Janssen’s hits per inning were way up from the previous two seasons, and his strikeouts per inning were way down. He’s 33 now; age will eventually catch up to him, but who knows exactly when that will be?
I will miss him. He didn’t have the classic closer repertoire (which is usually one unhittable pitch), but he challenged the hitters and threw strikes without fear. He had an extreme drop and drive pitching motion, which was interesting to watch. And he was very effective at his best; in 2013, he saved 34 of 36 games. (One of his two blown saves was very memorable, as it led to an 18-inning game.) Like Colby Rasmus, he is not going to an AL East team, so it is easier to hope that he does well at his new address.