Griffin: Jays avoid arbitration with Casey Janssen
The Blue Jays on Monday avoided arbitration with right-handed reliever Casey Janssen, agreeing to terms of a two-year contract for $5.9 million, plus a $4.0 million club option for 2014. Janssen was the final Jays' player eligible for arbitration this winter.
The 30-year-old California native had a breakthough season as a reliever in 2011, going 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA in 55 games. He joined Dennis Lamp and Tom Filer as the only Jays' pitchers to go undefeated in any season with six or more decisions.
The contract is a good move for both the Jays and for Janssen. The club's policy under third-year GM Alex Anthipoulos is to only offer multi-year contracts to a player if it serves to buy out at least the first year of free agency. Such was the case with Janssen, who with five-plus years of major-league service was eligible to be a free agent following 2012.
In addition for the Jays, in the case of arbitration, the policy when the Jays reach the point of exchanging figures, demand and offer, with a player, it is to go straight ahead to the hearing and battle the player -- unless an agreement can be reached on a multi-year deal. Such is the case with Janssen, whose role has become uncertain with the addition of Francisco Cordero, 36, in the Jays' revamped bulpen.
Janssen was originally selected by the Jays in the fourth round of the June 2004 June draft of amateur free agents, out of UCLA. He broke into the majors as a starting pitcher in 2006, but was shifted to the bullpen where he made a career high 70 appearances in 2007. He was out following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, missing all of the '08 season. He made just 21 appearances in '09.
Janssen is 21-19 lifetime in 221 games and was being touted this winter by manager John Farrell as one of his primary eighth-inning setup men. With the former closer Cordero, the experienced setup man Jason Frasor and veteran lefthander Darren Oliver in the bullpen behind closer Sergio Santos, Janssen's opportunities will be determined by performance.