- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Washington Nationals reportedly bolstered their bullpen Wednesday morning, agreeing to a one-year contract with right-handed reliever Casey Janssen.

FoxSports.com was first to report the deal, adding that it is worth a guaranteed $5 million with a mutual option for 2016. The team had yet to announce the move as of Wednesday afternoon.

Janssen, 33, spent the first eight years of his major league career with the Toronto Blue Jays, serving as their closer for most of the past three seasons. He will most likely be a late innings reliever with the Nationals, potentially filling the eighth-inning void left by Tyler Clippard.

Janssen has a career 3.52 earned-run average and racked up 81 saves of the past three years. His ERA ballooned from 1.23 to 3.94 after the All-Star break last season, a change that may have been the result of a bout with food poisoning during a trip to the Dominican Republic. Janssen told the National Post that the illness caused him to lose eight pounds in a span of 10 hours.

“I wouldn’t say that this month, month-and-a-half stretch is who I am,” Janssen told the Canadian newspaper. “And moving forward, I wouldn’t think that any team, or any evaluator, would think this is the person they’re getting.”

The Nationals lost three relievers this offseason. They declined to re-sign Rafael Soriano, traded Clippard to Oakland and sent left-hander Ross Detwiler to Texas. At $5 million, Janssen represents a significantly cheaper bullpen option than Clippard, who would have netted more than $9 million in arbitration.

Between Janssen, Drew Storen, Craig Stammen, Matt Thornton and Jerry Blevins, the Nationals now appear to have most of their bullpen in place. Blake Treinen, Heath Bell, Xavier Cedeno and Evan Meek will be among those competing for the final spots. Tanner Roark could also pitch out of the bullpen should he be bumped out of the starting rotation.

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