Nats sign reliever Casey Janssen to one-year deal (updated)

The Nationals might have just found their replacement for Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning. The Nats have signed former Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen to a one-year, $5 million deal with a mutual option for 2016, a source confirmed.'s Ken Rosenthal was first to report the signing. Casey-Janssen-blue-jays-sidebar.jpgJanssen, 33, became the Blue Jays' full-time closer in 2012, and posted 81 saves in 91 opportunities over the last three seasons. The right-hander had a very strong three-year run with Toronto from 2011-13, going 11-2 with a 2.46 ERA and 170 strikeouts to just 38 walks in 172 innings of work. The 2014 season was a tough one for Janssen, as he experienced a bad bout of food poisoning over the All-Star break and saw his numbers really take a hit in the second half of the season. Janssen had a 6.46 ERA after the break, compared to a 1.23 ERA in the first half. One concern about Janssen as we look toward this season was his declining strikeout rate last year. He went from striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings in 2012 to 8.5 per nine in 2013 to just 5.5 strikeouts per nine last year. Janssen was a fourth-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of the UCLA. He's now likely to become Drew Storen's top set-up man, and can provide valuable closing experience should Storen falter or land on the disabled list. Clippard was set to make upwards of $8 million in 2015 through arbitration. The Nationals traded Clippard to Oakland in exchange for infielder Yunel Escobar earlier this month. With Escobar set to earn $5 million in 2015 and Janssen now signed for $5 million, as well, the Nats are likely paying less than $2 million more for that duo than they would have paid Clippard alone.

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