Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
According to John Lott of the National Post, Casey Janssen threw an “impressive bullpen session” on Wednesday and will likely throw one more side before beginning his rehab assignment.
Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com added Janssen believes “the plan is to throw his next side on Saturday.” The right-handed reliever started the season on the 15-day disabled list with a left abdominal and lower back strain.
In Janssen’s absence, Sergio Santos has converted three saves in the team’s closer role. Santos’ first couple appearances were a bit shaky but he’s been lights out his last few. Janssen is eligible to return from the DL April 13 but sounds like he’s about a week away.
So the question becomes with much of the Blue Jays’ bullpen looking in mid-season form, who will be the odd man out?
Barring an injury, in my opinion Neil Wagner is the logical choice to be sent down upon Janssen’s arrival. This move would have less to do with Wagner’s performance and more to do with the remaining option on his contract.
Santos has struck out eight, walked three and allowed one earned run in 3.1 innings in four appearances this year. His last two outings he’s been very sharp and he could be an elite closer if he remained in the role moving forward. Last year Santos looked very impressive as an 8th inning reliever, striking out 28 batters over 25.1 innings. He also has experience closing for the Chicago White Sox.
Janssen doesn’t have the power arm that Santos possess but his command is top shelf. Casey has converted 56 saves in 61 opportunities over the past two seasos and since 2010 he has not appeared in less than 55 games, which is something Santos can’t say.
Janssen nearly started last year on the disabled list as well and Santos injury history is well-documented, so durability is an issue with both players. I’m a firm believer a player should not lose his position due to injury; therefore, Janssen should be the closer after he completes his rehab. However, there is an argument that can be made to keep Santos in the closer role for the present and moving forward.
Regardless of how this situation plays out, fans of the Toronto Blue Jays should feel comfortable knowing that the ninth inning is in capable hands… can the New York Yankees say the same thing?