If the Padres want to be competitive in 2016 (and beyond) they feel like they need to create some competition. The Friars have made this abundantly clear to all their relief pitchers.
As if that group did not have enough variables already, another one was thrown in to the mix. San Diego signed veteran reliever Casey Janssen to a minor league contract and invited him to Big League camp. The new guy was there for his first workout on Saturday morning.
The 34-year-old Janssen made 48 appearances for the Nationals last season. He was only scored on in 12 of those outings, but when things went wrong they seemed to go REALLY wrong. Janssen finished with an ERA just a shade under 5.00.
“Obviously I’m motivated,” said Janssen. “Last year didn’t go the way I wanted it to and I’m out here to prove that I’m the pitcher I know I can be and that last year was just a little bump in the road.
Janssen, a Southern California native who played at UCLA, spent the first eight years of his career with the Blue Jays. He spent three years as Toronto’s closer, saving a career-high 34 games in 2013.
The Padres are expecting Janssen to fight for a spot on the Opening Day roster, and possibly at the most high-profile spot in the bullpen. When the Padres signed Fernando Rodney he became the presumptive closer. Janssen might get a chance to push Rodney, a challenge he would welcome.
“At this point in my career I just want to help. I want to win,” said Janssen. “I’ve pitched everywhere in a bullpen from the early innings to the back end to closing. I truly believe that if you can pitch in the 6th you can pitch in the 9th. Three outs is really just three outs and that’s how I treat it.”