On Saturday, the San Diego Padres signed pitcher Casey Janssen to a minor league contract.
Janssen was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth round of the 2004 draft out of UCLA. He made his major league debut in April 2006 and stayed with the Blue Jays before leaving as a free agent after the 2014 season. From 2012-2014, Janssen saved 81 games and had a 2.94 ERA.
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He spent this past season with the Washington Nationals. In 48 appearances, he went 2-5 with a 4.95 ERA.
“I’ve dealt with the good times and I’ve had some bad times,” Janssen said. “I’m motivated. Last year didn’t go the way I wanted it to, so I’m out here to prove the pitcher I know I can be and that last year was just a little bump in the road.” (San Diego Union Tribune)
The California native decided that it was best to stay close to home.
“We talked to a few teams and (the Padres) expressed interest,” Janssen said after joining the club on a minor league deal. “Being a Southern California kid, I definitely had my eye on them and being able to stay close to home. There was a fit and now I’m here.” (San Diego Union Tribune)
Janssen was born in Orange, California and graduated from Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, California before playing collegiately at UCLA.
For his career, he is 31-29 with a 3.63 ERA and 90 saves.
“Nothing was promised, nothing was guaranteed, but he does have a very legitimate chance to factor into our bullpen,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “I think experience is always a good thing; it’s a great teacher. It’s not necessarily the only thing we look for, but with him, who he is as a person, his reputation in the game, it’s a great guy all the way around to add”. (San Diego Union Tribune).
The Padres also brought in veteran relievers Fernando Rodney and Carlos Villanueva this offseason. As Green said, experience always helps. Even if veterans do not make the final rosters, they can still push the younger players and provide some leadership.
Janssen wants to help this team in any way.
“At this point in my career, I just want to help, I just want to win. I’ve pitched everywhere in a bullpen from the early innings to the back end to closing. I truly believe if you can pitch in the sixth, you can pitch in the ninth and vice versa.” (San Diego Union Tribune)
The Padres play their first Spring Training game on March 2 against the Seattle Mariners. The excitement is around the corner.