There’s a reason why closer Casey Janssen hasn’t really worked too innings in 2013.
And no, it’s not because the Toronto Blue Jays haven’t really needed him to thanks to their losing ways (though that does seem like a logical assumption), but rather because the right-hander has been dealing with a shoulder that, as Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com puts it, “is less than 100 percent healthy.”
While that hasn’t stopped the Blue Jays closer from being mostly fantastic this season (2.41/.0.88 ERA/WHIP, .178 BAA heading into play on Monday), the shoulder may finally be getting to him more often than not.
The Blue Jays found that out the hard way on Monday as they called upon their ninth inning man in a 1-1 tied game against the Oakland Athletics. This appearance came just two days after Janssen laboured to record his 21st save of the season against the A’s and this time, there was no escape act.
Four hits, one intentional walk and one sacrifice later, Toronto was down 5-1 and the game was well out of reach after Janssen’s 20-pitch outing.
So, it was just another day in the office for the Blue Jays. On Sunday, it was a plethora of missed opportunities that sank the team along with Darren Oliver, and on Monday, it was their near-perfect closer whose supposedly “improving” shoulder did not deliver the results. In fact, this was not the first couple of times that Janssen has scuffled recently either — cue the arbitrary endpoints, maestro:
Casey Janssen in 13 games since July 4, 6.35 ERA; 11.2 IP 13H; 10R; 8ER; 6BB; 11K.
— Richard Griffin (@RGriffinStar) August 12, 2013
I don’t know, that just doesn’t sound like the healthy (ier) Janssen who was nearly perfect earlier this season. With the four-run, 0.2 IP implosion, the closer’s ERA is now up to a 3.32.
While he is certainly something of a fan favourite among the Blue Jays fan base, the 31-year-old’s future with the team is not entirely certain. He does have a reasonable $4 million option for 2014 that could make him a valuable trade chip in the offseason, and as the Blue Jays are going to have a glut of relievers (two of them All-Stars), the team could very well continue their closer carousel next season.
Either way, with Janssen scuffling lately atop an already-overworked bullpen, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the team decides to give him a bit of time off should the save opportunities come a little more frequently down the stretch — I know, wishful thinking, right?