Tag: Casey Janssen

Updated Chances for Washington Nationals to Sign Top 5 Remaining FA Targets

Most free-agency talk regarding the Washington Nationals this winter will start and end with their search for a second baseman. But MLB‘s offseason isn’t called the “Hot Stove” because of aging middle infielders moving teams. 

It’s true, Washington could probably trot out its roster as is and contend for its second consecutive division title. But, as The Washington Post‘s Thomas Boswell points out, a blockbuster signing is never out of the question with Nats general manager Mike Rizzo. 

Rizzo proved that to be true in 2011 with the acquisition of outfielder Jayson Werth and in 2012 when he brought in starter Gio Gonzalez, two players who have been instrumental in the Nationals’ recent success. 

This time around, it’s free-agent hurler Max Scherzer’s name that is punctuating the discussion of second base options like Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew. 

Washington’s biggest waves in free agency should come once the likes of Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister are either dealt or signed to extensions, but the Nationals are highly unlikely to remain quiet all offseason.

Therefore, here are the chances some of Washington’s most notable targets don the red, white and blue next season.

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7 New MLB Names Who Could Become Trade Bait If Their Teams Struggle in July

There are several teams on the cusp of falling out of playoff contention, which is always fun as it opens up the potential for even more trade rumors.

Seven teams—the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox—are currently more than 10 games back of a playoff spot, a very tough spot from which to bounce back. More could join them soon in the land of non-contenders. 

Teams like the Blue Jays (43-45, lost nine of last 14), Giants (40-48, lost 12 of their last 14), Padres (40-50, 10 consecutive losses), Rockies (43-47, lost 14 of their last 20) and Royals (42-44, lost 34 of their last 59) will need to make a decision of whether they are buyers or sellers in the next few weeks. If they play any worse than they have lately, veteran players from those teams could be shopped to contenders before the trade deadline.

Here are seven of the more interesting names that could be part of your daily Hot Stove news in the near future.

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Top 3 Reasons Why the Toronto Blue Jays Will Have a Winning Record in May

The 2013 season certainly didn’t begin the way that Toronto Blue Jays fans, management, players or ball boys expected. Starting off this month with four straight losses doesn’t help either.

Fear not, Jays enthusiasts, for there are three key reasons why Canada’s team will have a winning record in May.


3. Melky‘s Starting to Click

After going homerless in April, the much criticized Melky Cabrera finally broke out of his shell on May 5.

Slugging his first long ball as a Blue Jay in the club’s 10-2 victory over Seattle on Sunday, Cabrera’s extra-base hits are what really stand out.

Amassing only a trio of extra-base knocks over his first 31 games, Melky has more than doubled that amount in this week alone. Could No. 53 be turning the corner?

Fears that the left fielder was useless without performance-enhancing drugs as his sidekick may have been premature. Like so many veterans coming out of spring training, maybe it was just a slow start.


2. Brandon Morrow Equals Saviour?

One pitcher doesn’t make a rotation, but Toronto supporters need some hope to cling to in what has so far been an underwhelming starting five.

For Brandon Morrow, a single win in seven outings and a 4.69 ERA is obviously not considered ideal. However, the hard-throwing right-hander looked like his vintage self in a dominating eight-inning performance on May 5.

Eight strikeouts and two earned runs on only three hits for a victory is exactly what the Blue Jays needed to give a breather to an overworked bullpen. It’s also the first time that Morrow appeared to be in full command.

Back spasms pushed the Santa Rosa, Calif., native’s next start back against Boston from Friday to the series finale on Sunday. That outing will be huge for the 6’3″ hurler and the Jays staff as a whole. Toronto needs an arm to rely on, and Morrow could be the man to help make May a winning month.


1. The New Terminator…Casey Janssen

If this team can ever gain and hold a lead late into a game, then it possesses a closer who appears to have come into his own in 2013.

Tom “The Terminator” Henke? Not yet, but Casey Janssen is slowly shaking away the inconsistency that haunted him as a stopper the past couple of seasons. Staying healthy and getting steady work to remain sharp are the goals.

A perfect 9-of-9 in save opportunities, the eight-year veteran is posting a minuscule 0.75 ERA in 12 appearances. His 13 strikeouts to zero walks only accentuates the stellar outings.

In those 1992 and 1993 World Series championship campaigns, the Jays could always count on Tom Henke and/or Duane Ward to shut down opponents in the ninth inning. It seemed automatic.

If the offense can begin to click in May and put this squad ahead late in more matchups, then Janssen will be given the opportunity to shine. We could be on the cusp of witnessing the next great Toronto closer. Get your nicknames ready folks.

Follow Andy McNamara on Twitter @AndyMc81

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