Matchup 6: Tom Henke vs Casey Janssen
“The Terminator” was one of the most dominant relievers this franchise has ever known. His save total of 217 is good for first place and may never be beat. He played 8 seasons in Toronto from 1985 through 1992. It was only the emergence of Duane Ward that made the club comfortable to part ways with him. After piling up 217 saves for the Blue Jays, he’d add 91 more for the Rangers and Cardinals.
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His best seasons came in 1986 (3.5 WAR), 1987 (3.3 WAR) and 1989 (3.5 WAR). What is remarkable about his ’86 season is that he also compiled a record of 9-5 to go along with his 27 saves. In 1989, he also hit 8-3 with 20 saves. In those 3 seasons, he never saw a K/9 rate of lower than 11.63, which included a 12.26 rate in 1987. Of course, we’ll all remember his part in the 1992 season where he saved 34 games to help the Blue Jays win the World Series.
Janssen was a different kind of reliever than Henke. Firstly, he kind of stumbled into the role after failed starting attempts. He started 17 games in 2006. Like Cecil, he was moved to the bullpen and saw some improved results. In 2010, he was moved there full time and would go 5-2 in 68.2 innings.
But, it wasn’t until 2012 that the club trusted him in the closers role. He would go on to save 22 games that year. He’d save 34 the next and then another 25 in 2014. Janssen has tallied 90 saves in a Blue Jays uniform, which is good for 4th on the all time list. At the time, he was considered a sure bet in the 9th inning. In the grand scheme of things, he likely won the role by default and the club let him walk away when free agency came calling.
Next: Matchup 7: Doc vs The Chin