“Guys, I actually was asking around this week to scouts, and to front office types, who were telling me that, generally, the relief market is going to be weak this year. A couple names to keep in mind: Jesse Crain of the White Sox has been throwing the ball really well. Casey Janssen, the closer for the Toronto Blue Jays is another guy who is gaining some notice among teams.”
Those were the exact words of Buster Olney during the top of the seventh inning of last night’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the Braves’ 3-0 win over the Giants, and though they are entirely fucking inoffensive and uncontroversial, why the hell should that stop Jays fans from getting their underthings in a twist about it, as though the club’s management themselves have added Janssen’s name to the Trading Block like they’re some fantasy league owner?
@Buster_ESPN huh??? Why would the Jays trade Casey Janssen? Where do you come up with this stuff?
— BJG (@MOAB1972) June 17, 2013
I am getting word that, according to Buster Olney, Casey Janssen is trade bait. Time to grab my knife.
— Shadman (@Shadybats19) June 17, 2013
— Tony (@Antoniodelballe) June 17, 2013
@Buster_ESPN You seriously think the Jays will trade Janssen!!! A cheap option and I bet they extend his contract buddy
— Sean Addis (@SjaAddis) June 17, 2013
buster olney suggesting jays will move casey janssen? lmao. #bluejays
— Nicholas McManus (@nicholasmcmanus) June 17, 2013
@Buster_ESPN Look Busty, if your going to make stories up, MAKE it REAL!! Like saying we are going to trade Josh Johnson… Not Janssen.
— Blue Jays Guru (@BlueJaysGuru) June 17, 2013
Olney, as he explains in the tweet our sad troll friend at the end here was replying to, has said nothing remotely close to “the Blue Jays are looking to trade Casey Janssen.” He simply relays information from “scouts” and “front office types” that Janssen is a guy other teams are going to look at.
I mean… stop the fucking presses, right? How did this become so difficult to grasp?
In print, Olney was able to elaborate a little, but said pretty much the exact same thing last week in a column for ESPN.com (Insider Olney):
If Toronto drifts once and for all, then maybe you could make a deal for Casey Janssen, who could be the focus of a lot of teams looking for bullpen help; he can fill any role, and he is respected for the way he competes, and throws strikes. Janssen has issued just three walks and has 21 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings, and he has a $4 million team option for 2014, which won’t scare anybody away.
Again, nothing crazy whatsoever. Yes, other teams will be looking to acquire talent like Janssen at the deadline, and it makes a whole lot of sense for the Blue Jays– given his friendly contract and the fact that he’s certainly at the peak of his value right now (and had his surgically repaired shoulder cleaned up in the off-season)– to listen. Doesn’t mean they’re shopping him. Doesn’t mean they’re packing it in for 2013 already. Certainly doesn’t mean they’re looking to move him at all costs. It means exactly what it says, and that in a weak relief market they could be in the driver’s seat.
That’s actually, y’know, a good thing. So… uh… maybe simmer the fuck down a little, eh, knife guy?
And frankly, what would have been controversial, and worthy of something close to this much attention, was if– as these fans apparently would have preferred– Olney had reported something along the lines of, other teams are looking at Janssen, but in no way will the Blue Jays ever part with this untouchable core asset.
How incredibly dumb would that be? Yeah, Casey Jannsen has been something of a revelation this season– which is doubly impressive because of the fact that he was a revelation in each of the past two seasons, too– and he’s a reassuring presence at the back of a bullpen for a team that finally looks like it could be turning the corner and may be able to keep this year from being a total fucking washout. If it keeps happening, he’ll be a key part of that turnaround, for sure. But he’s a reliever. And over the last three seasons, in terms of wins above replacement (per FanGraphs), his contribution to the Jays has been less valuable than what Scott Diamond has given the Twins, or the wizardry of Joe Blanton has given his various teams. Janssen has provided less value over than span than Javier Vazquez and Michael Pineda, neither of whom has thrown a big league pitch since 2011.
That’s not at all to say that Janssen is bad– far from it. It’s just the nature of the position doesn’t allow for him to provide the kind of value that people want associate with “lockdown closer” or “core asset.” He’s pitched 141 innings so far in those three seasons– that simply is not enough time on the field for him to provide the kind of value to look at the suggestion of his being traded as something as fucking laughable as the stuff we’ve heard about Jose Bautista from the likes of Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, or Rangers blog The Newberg Report.
I don’t think there’s much of a chance that the Jays move him, but… uh… it’s not like Olney was saying that anyway.