Casey Janssen Rumors

Casey Janssen Joins ACES Agency

Former Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen has switched agents and will now be represented by ACES as he heads into free agency for the first time, reports MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (on Twitter).

The 33-year-old Janssen didn’t pick a great time to have his worst season since 2009, and his new agents will be tasked with convincing interested parties that this year was an aberration as opposed to a genuine cause for concern. The former Jim McDowell client opened the year on the disabled list with a back strain that sidelined him through mid-May. Janssen’s struggles began after the All-Star break — during which he caught a violent case of food poisoning and lost eight pounds as a result. As John Lott wrote in the National Post in late August, Janssen himself would not use his illness as an excuse, but he did make five appearances in an eight-game stretch just starting on July 20, when he’d spent the previous two days attached to an IV to get fluids back into his body.

The end result of Janssen’s season was a 3.94 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9, but the first- and second-half splits are eye-catching. He allowed three runs in 22 innings with a 14-to-1 K/BB ratio prior to the All-Star break (1.23 ERA) before posting a 6.46 ERA in 23 2/3 second-half innings. While there’s certainly a correlation with the food poisoning, detractors can note that Janssen’s strikeouts and ground-ball rate were down significantly, even in the first half.

As shown in MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker, ACES has negotiated multiple contracts for free agent relievers over the past couple of offseasons, including Brandon League, Randy Choate, Santiago Casilla, Joaquin Benoit and Grant Balfour, and they also negotiated Jonathan Papelbon‘s record contract with the Phillies.

Janssen’s switch is now reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database, which contains agent information on more than 2,000 Major League and Minor League players. If you see any errors or notable omissions within the database, please let us know via email: mlbtrdatabase@gmail.com.


AL Notes: Peralta, Janssen, Lowrie

The Rays will wait until tomorrow to make their option decision on reliever Joel Peralta, the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin tweets. They’ll also soon be making other 40-man decisions, since they need to reinstate Matt Moore and Jerry Sands from the 60-day disabled list, and their roster is currently full. Peralta’s option comes at $2.5MM, and if the Rays exercise it, they’ll have options at the same price for 2016 and 2017 as well. Peralta is 38 and is coming off a season in which he posted a 4.41 ERA, and the Rays could decide to let him go to save a bit of money and clear a roster spot for a younger player. In general, though, $2.5MM would seem to be a reasonable price for a reliever who had 10.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 last season. Here’s more from the American League.

  • Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen is excited for free agency, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star writes. After a poor second half (perhaps due in part to coming down with food poisoning at the All-Star Break), Janssen isn’t sure how he’ll be valued, but he points to the Royals’ excellent bullpen and the Tigers’ playoff struggles as evidence that good relievers are valuable. “It just shortens the game when you can confidently hand the keys to the ’pen in the sixth or seventh inning,” he says.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Athletics do not plan to extend a qualifying offer to Jed Lowrie, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Lowrie has said that he’s unlikely to give the A’s a significant hometown discount to return, and the team isn’t likely to want to make a longer commitment. They also don’t have an obvious internal replacement (particularly after sending Addison Russell to the Cubs), so they could be on the hunt for a shortstop this offseason. Slusser notes that someone like Stephen Drew, who they might be able to sign to a shorter deal, might be a candidate. The A’s could also trade to acquire a shortstop from a team like the Cubs or Diamondbacks. Slusser writes that the Athletics will likely lose their other six free agents as well — Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Luke Gregerson, Jonny Gomes, Alberto Callaspo and Geovany Soto.

Blue Jays Notes: Lind, Cabrera, McGowan, Sanchez

When the Blue Jays brass met to discuss the offseason, Adam Lind was at the top of the list, writes John Lott of the National Post. The first baseman’s presence on the roster impeded flexibility, which is why the club dealt him for pitcher Marco Estrada earlier today. GM Alex Anthopoulos expressed hope that the trade would be the first domino in a series of moves. Here’s more from north of the border.

  • FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets that the White Sox were also interested in Lind but did not make a substantial offer. I’m not surprised the Sox did not match the Brewers’ offer. With the possible exception of Dayan Viciedo, the White Sox don’t possess a player like Estrada, i.e. an established major leaguer coming off a disappointing season.
  • The Jays and free agent Melky Cabrera are far apart in contract negotiations, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Anthopoulos was forthcoming about the talks, comparing the situation to some arbitration cases. “Sometimes you need to have that third party, which is the market…so they truly know what they are worth.” Based on those comments, it appears likely that Cabrera will test the market. We at MLBTR pegged Cabrera for a five-year, $70MM contract, but he’s obviously among the hardest players to gauge due to his history with performance enhancing drugs and a lost season in 2013 from a back injury. For what it’s worth, I consider the $70MM estimate to be conservative in today’s offensively anemic game.
  • Toronto declined Dustin McGowan‘s $4MM option because the contract was too rich for his projected role, says Davidi (Twitter link). Anthopoulos did not rule out a reunion with McGowan at a lesser rate, per Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star (via Twitter).
  • Anthopoulos confirmed that the club views prospect Aaron Sanchez as a starter long term, tweets Kennedy. However, there may not be a spot in the rotation. My observation from strolling around the internet is that many fans hope to see Sanchez installed as the closer. No plans have been made at this time.
  • The Blue Jays will not make a qualifying offer to Colby Rasmus or Casey Janssen, tweets Davidi. He referred to the news as “confirming the obvious,” since neither player was viewed as a candidate for an offer.


East Notes: Olivera, Stanton, Red Sox, Janssen, Lind

Here’s the latest from the game’s eastern divisions:

  • The Marlins are interested in Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Olivera recently defected with hopes of becoming an MLB free agent, and Miami is certainly one of several clubs that looks in need of an acquisition up the middle.
  • Giancarlo Stanton‘s season-ending injury does not change the Marlins‘ plans to make a push at extending him this winter, the Associated Press reports (via the New York Times). “There’s no hesitancy, no reservation or doubt he’ll return and be even better,” said Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill. “We’re going to do everything in our power to keep him a fixture in our lineup for many years to come.”
  • The Red Sox are not giving up on Will Middlebrooks in spite of building frustration, but president Larry Lucchino did make clear that the team is “looking for a left-handed hitting third baseman,” as he told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan (via WEEI.com’s Andrew Battifarano). Though Lucchino said that prospect Garin Cecchini could be that player, he also emphasized that the team will not “make the same mistake that [we] made this year, which is to assume that so many of our young players are ready for prime time.”
  • Two long-time Blue Jays — reliever Casey Janssen and DH Adam Lind — are approaching the possibility of finding new homes, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes. Janssen, a free agent, says he does not yet know whether Toronto will make him a competitive offer. If not, he says, he will “embrace a new city and try to bring a championship to wherever that next stop is.” Lind, on the other hand, is subject to a $7.5MM club option. Though expectations are that it will be exercised, Lind says he hopes the front office will give him a clear sense of its intentions before the season ends.

Blue Jays Exercise Janssen, Lind, DeRosa Options

6:50pm: The Jays have exercised their options on Lind and DeRosa, while declining their option on Kawasaki, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi writes. Lind hit .288/.357/.497 while splitting his time between first base and DH in 2013. DeRosa hit .235/.326/.407 while playing first, second, third and DH. Kawasaki provided a feel-good moment or two for the Jays in a season in which they had very few, but he split his time between Toronto and Triple-A Buffalo and only hit .229/.326/.308 in the Majors. Davidi notes that the Jays could re-sign him to a minor-league deal.

5:04pm: The Blue Jays have exercised their $4MM option on closer Casey Janssen, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets. Janssen pitched 52 2/3 innings in 2013, posting a 2.56 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9, so the decision was likely a relatively straightforward one. The option came as part of a two-year, $5.9MM deal signed prior to the 2012 season. Janssen made $3.9MM in 2013. He is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.

The Jays have yet to announce decisions on options for first baseman / designated hitter Adam Lind ($7MM with a $2MM buyout), infielder Munenori Kawasaki ($1MM) and utilityman Mark DeRosa ($750K with a $25K buyout).


AL East Notes: Girardi, Lester, Rays, Price, Janssen

The Yankees have made a substantial offer to keep manager Joe Girardi, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports. A source tells Marchand that Girardi could think about the offer through the weekend. "We are going to give him a real good reason to stay," says GM Brian Cashman. Rumors have connected Girardi to the Cubs' managerial job, which might be a possibility if he chooses to leave. The Nationals and Reds also have managerial openings that Girardi might find attractive. Girardi is currently under contract with the Yankees through the end of October. Here are more notes from the AL East.

  • Last offseason, the Red Sox and Royals discussed a possible trade involving Jon Lester and Wil Myers, Lester tells WEEI.com's Alex Speier. "[Royals manager Ned Yost] is actually a pretty good friend of mine. I flat-out called him one day and was like, 'Hey, what do you got on this?' He said, ‘Yeah, we’re trying to make it work,'" Lester says. One reason the trade ultimately didn't happen is that the Royals finally traded Myers and three other players to the Rays, the Red Sox's current ALDS opponent, for a package headlined by James Shields.
  • One assistant GM proposes that the Rays could trade David Price to the Dodgers for Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Julio Urias and Chris Withrow, Peter Gammons writes. That would give the Rays two very good hitting prospects in Seager and Pederson, a very young arm in Urias, and a big-league reliever in Withrow. MLB.com ranks Pederson and Seager the top two prospects in the Dodgers system, with Urias at No. 4.
  • The Blue Jays are "sure" to pick up their $4MM option on closer Casey Janssen, writes Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca. Janssen is coming off a strong season, so the decision would seem to be an easy one. Davidi notes that Janssen would likely make twice as much on the open market, and win a multi-year deal to boot.

Blue Jays Likely To Keep Lind, DeRosa, Janssen

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters that there's a "good chance" they'll exercise Adam Lind's option for 2014, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).  Veteran Mark DeRosa is also in good position with his option and Casey Janssen is a lock to have his club option triggered.

It now looks like Lind will get $7MM to stay in Toronto next season rather than getting a $2MM buyout to ply his craft elsewhere.  The Jays also have options on Lind's services for 2015 ($7.5MM) and 2016 ($8MM). In 2013, Lind has hit .287/.356/.497, his best slash line since 2009. 

DeRosa's $750K option was expected to be triggered, but he could opt to retire rather than return.  The 38-year-old, who has a .229/.322/.398 slash line on the year, has earned nearly $30MM over the course of his career.  Meanwhile, Janssen's $4MM option is a slam dunk after turning in a 2.56 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 56 relief appearances.

Anthopoulos also expressed confidence that the Blue Jays' rotation can turn things around with "a starter or two" added this offseason, Davidi tweets.


Blue Jays Notes: Bullpen, Izturis, Bonifacio

The Blue Jays have been one of the busiest teams this offseason, per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker. GM Alex Anthopoulos has traded a manager (John Farrell), hired his replacement (John Gibbons, his second stint in Toronto), acquired the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Jose ReyesJosh JohnsonMark BuehrleEmilio Bonifacio, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Esmil Rogers while signing free agents Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis, Henry Blanco, and Mark DeRosa. Is there anything left for Anthopoulos to do before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin on February 12? MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm answered that question and others when he opened his inbox recently.

  • The remaining moves the Blue Jays have left to make are minor league signings for organizational depth, writes Chisholm. 
  • The only real area of competition is the bullpen. Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos will battle to be the closer. Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is a favorite to win a job, as he is out of options. Chisholm thinks Brandon Lyon would add a reliable veteran presence to the bullpen, but doesn't see the Blue Jays re-signing the right-hander because the team has reached its payroll limit.
  • It appears Izturis received some sort of promise from the organization he would be the starting second baseman before agreeing to his three-year, $10MM deal, according to Chisholm. Look for Bonifacio to be used in a super utility role even though, in Chisholm's view, he has more upside than Izturis and would bring another element of speed to the lineup.
  • Don't expect Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, both recovering from Tommy John surgery, to make a major impact until 2014.
  • The Blue Jays' farm system has been weakened by the flurry of trades this offseason. Chisholm notes there's talent in the lower levels, which is at least three years away, but that isn't a concern for the Blue Jays because their core is tied up for a similar period at the big league level.    

Blue Jays Looking To Add Players

The Blue Jays, now 40-40 and in fifth place in the American League East, are looking to add to their team as the July 31st trade deadline approaches. General manager Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that he’s discussing ways of making this year’s team better.

"Every dialogue I’m trying to have now, it’s all about trying to improve the 2012 product, that isn’t going to change," he said. "I’m active in having talks, that doesn’t mean anything is going to get done, but definitely all the trade dialogue I’m handling right now is all about making the 2012 team better."

Anthopoulos told Davidi the Blue Jays have talked about some potential short-term additions, including players headed for free agency. The GM added that this year’s Blue Jays team has a stronger core than in previous years.

Only three MLB teams have out-scored Toronto, but the Blue Jays could use pitching reinforcements after losing three starters to the disabled list and adding Carlos Villanueva, Aaron Laffey and Brett Cecil to their rotation. The Blue Jays are unsurprisingly interested in adding starting pitching depth.

Two scouts told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com that Anthopoulos should sell this summer. One scout suggested Casey Janssen could become a trade chip. Meanwhile, a rival official said the Blue Jays are “souring” on Yunel Escobar and Knobler suggests the Blue Jays could decide to trade the shortstop just one year after extending him.


Blue Jays Extend Casey Janssen

The Blue Jays announced that they have agreed to a two-year, $5.9MM contract extension with right-handed reliever Casey Janssen. The deal, which eliminates the need for an arbitration hearing, includes a 2014 option worth $4MM. Janssen will earn $2MM in 2012 and $3.9MM in 2013, MLBTR has learned. 

The contract buys out Janssen's final year of arbitration eligibility and his first free agent season. Janssen and agent Jim McDowell had asked for $2.2MM in arbitration, with the Blue Jays countering at $1.8MM.

The 30-year-old posted a 2.26 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 47.3% ground ball rate in 55 2/3 innings last year, when he earned $1.095MM as a second-time arbitration eligible player. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca first reported that the sides were nearing a two-year deal.

As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, Alex Anthopoulos has now completed seven extensions since becoming Toronto's GM.