Can The Blue Jays Afford To Keep Handing Ball To Casey Janssen?
The Toronto Blue Jays are desperate for wins with each passing day as they slip further out of contention in the American League wild-card race. Manager John Gibbons needs to field the best possible lineup from here on out in an attempt to win games. Unfortunately for Gibbons his proven reliable closer Casey Janssen has been anything but since the All-Star break and begs the question if the Jays can keep summonsing for his services in the 9th inning.
Janssen has been rock solid slamming the door on the opposition 56 times over the course of the last two seasons coming into 2014. The Jays closer vacationed in the Dominican Republic during the mid-summer break and contracted a virus or food poisoning that saw him lose close to 10 pounds. Since returning Janssen has pitched to an inflated earned run average of 6.59 with 2 blown saves.
As you can see from the stat-line below the closer has not produced at a time when the Jays need it most.
Games ERA Saves Blown Saves
May 10 0.00 8 1
June 8 2.57 4 1
July 12 5.56 6 0
August 9 4.91 1 2
In his last 10 appearances Janssen has tossed 8.1 innings surrendering 4 runs on 9 hits while walking 4 and striking out 5 batters he faced.
Janssen who is set to become a free agent at seasons end was very vocal in voicing his displeasure that GM Alex Anthopoulos did not acquire any additional troops at the trade deadline for the stretch-run. Janssen sits seventh in bullpen WAR behind the recently demoted Jenkins and the newly promoted Sanchez.
Bullpen WAR Leaders
Aaron Loup 1.4
Dustin McGowan 0.8
Brett Cecil 0.8
Todd Redmond 0.8
Chad Jenkins 0.7
Aaron Sanchez 0.7
Casey Janssen 0.6
Rob Rasmussen 0.2
Sergio Santos -1.0
According to Fan Graphs left handed batters are hitting .284 off the closer whereas last season lefties hit only .242 and in 2012 a minuscule .172 batting average from the left-side. Janssen has lost a mile per hour off his fastball (88.9) and cutter (88.1) from last season but not really a factor for a pitcher that relies on location to get hitters out.
There is no question Janssen will work it out, but can the Jays keep trotting him out there with the game on the line when there may be better options available out of the pen? The Jays needs wins at any cost so it may be time to shuffle the pecking order in the bullpen.
It’s not a question about what have you done for me but more about what have you done for me lately.