Is a Casey Janssen Reunion Still in the Cards?

At season’s end, Casey Janssen’s departure from the Toronto Blue Jays only seemed like a foregone conclusion. After eight years with the organization, it was apparent Janssen was going to test the market as a free agent.

Although he voiced his displeasure with the team’s lack of moves mid-season, Casey Janssen and the Blue Jays seemed to go their separate ways in a respectful fashion. The split was certainly much more amicable than that with another free agent: Colby Rasmus.

But as the weeks pass and Spring Training draws closer and closer, the more and more I think Casey Janssen may very well end up coming back to the Toronto Blue Jays.


One would think a free agent reliever of his calibre would’ve had no problem signing a multi-year contract by now. But here we are in mid-January, and Janssen still remains a free agent.

It was reported that Casey Janssen was ready and willing to sign another contract extension with the Blue Jays early last season, but the team opted to put negotiations on the back burner. Clearly, Janssen has a desire to play with the Blue Jays.

Now, that may have all changed after the Blue Jays’ inactivity at the non-waiver trade deadline and Janssen’s subsequent comments about the team’s inactivity, but the front office may be back in his good books after the plethora of offseason activity by the club.

If this offseason was really all about trying to shift the dynamic and making a positive change in the Blue Jays’ clubhouse, I really don’t believe Casey Janssen was one of the so-called “bad apples”.

By all indications, Janssen has been a good soldier for the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s done everything they’ve asked him to, and he even seemed willing to sign another contract extension last season. So I have a hard time believing Janssen was one of the reported malcontents.

It’s no secret that the current state of the Blue Jays’ bullpen as it stands could still use some work. So the addition of a savvy right-handed veteran with seemingly pinpoint control like Janssen could really only stand to benefit the Jays’ bullpen.

If the club is in fact still interested in bolstering the relief corps by signing one of the remaining free agent relievers on the market,
this may be one instance where it’s better to sign devil you know than
the devil you don’t.

And even if Casey Janssen doesn’t return to his 2012-2013 self, the Blue Jays would still be getting a decent middle-to-late relief arm. The big question is whether his shoulder will hold up, and that may be one of the main reasons why he remains a free agent.

As an eight year veteran with the club, the Blue Jays know Casey Janssen better than anybody else. He’s been a Blue Jay since day one, and in theory the club should have a lot of additional intel to see if he’s a high risk candidate for injury.


It’s unfortunate because Casey Janssen was a completely different pitcher in the second half of 2014 than he was in the first half. After suffering an illness after traveling to the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break, Janssen stumbled out of the gate really wasn’t the same the remainder of the season.

Janssen was on track to be handsomely paid; either by the Blue Jays or on the open market, and all it took was one innocent vacation during the All-Star break to derail his chances at landing a multi-year contract.

Would Casey Janssen seriously consider coming back to the Blue Jays? I really think it’s more of a question of whether the Blue Jays want him back. Not only that, but do the Blue Jays have the budget for his potential return?

Multi-year contracts have been handed out like candy to relievers this offseason, and one can’t certainly blame Janssen for seeking two or more guaranteed years. But if the Blue Jays could land him at a “hometown discount” so to speak, it would behoove them to make that move.

He wouldn’t even necessarily have to come back as “closer”, either; just a veteran right-handed arm to help stabilize the back end of the Blue Jays bullpen’ perhaps even as the club’s setup man or being relegated to seventh inning duties.

Anywhere in the neighbourhood of $3.5 million per season seems like a fair amount for Casey Janssen’s services. At this point, it seems like that would be a wise offer for Janssen to accept, but will there even be an offer from the Blue Jays in the first place?


Image courtesy of Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Sport

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.