Casey Janssen turns 39 today. Casey was a favorite of mine and a favorite of the site. Before I got here, we had an interview with him back in 2008.
Casey was a 4th round draft pick in the 2003 draft, out of the University of California, back in J.P. Ricciardi’s time. David Purcey was our first-round pick that year. Zach Jackson, Curtis Thigpen, and Adam Lind came before Casey.
Janssen first came up to the Jays at the end of April 2006, to join the rotation. A.J. Burnett had to go on to the DL, something about scar tissue from his Tommy John surgery, back in 2003, breaking off in his arm. Casey started pretty well. He had a 3-2 record and a 3.12 ERA in 6 starts for May. Things went downhill from there. He finished with at 6-10 with a 5.07 ERA.
In 2007 we had more pitching injuries, and Janssen moved to the bullpen and was the setup man for closer Jeremy Accardo. He had 24 holds, 6 saves, and a 2.35 ERA in 70 games. He didn’t strike out many, just 39 in 72.2 innings, but he kept the ball on the ground and did a good job.
Casey missed all of the 2008 season, and the first month or so 2009, with a torn labrum. When he was ready to go, the Jays put him in the rotation. It didn’t go well. In 5 starts he had a 6.23 ERA, and he went back to the bullpen to stay. For the next 5 season, he would be an essential member of our bullpen.
From 2010 to 2014, Casey pitched in 279 games, putting up a 2.99 and 83 saves (with just blown saves). From 2012 to 2014, he was our closer. He sits 5th on our all-time saves list, and he’s 5th on the list for games played by pitchers.
You might remember that he had a bout of food poisoning over the All-Star break, and he had a rough second half. After having a decent first half of the season, he put up a 5.70 ERA second half.
After the season, he signed a contract with the Nationals. He wasn’t great in 2015, and the Nationals declined the option for the 2016 season. Since then, he was signed by and released by the Padres and Red Sox without making it to the majors. He pitched in the Mexican League in 2017.
I’m not sure exactly why he was such a favorite around here, well, other than he was so good. I liked his follow-through, with the lead leg bend, so he was so low to the ground. And it didn’t hurt that he seemed like a good guy.
Here is a bit of video (also good for the Brett Lawrie celebration).