Casey Janssen turns 42 today. Casey was a favourite of mine and a favourite 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 to the Jays at the end of April 2006 to join the rotation. A.J. Burnett had to go on to the DL about scar tissue from his Tommy John surgery in 2003, breaking off in his arm. Casey started 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 the 2008 season and the first month or so of 2009 with a torn labrum. The Jays put him in the rotation when he was ready to go. It didn’t go well. In 5 starts, he had a 6.23 ERA and returned to the bullpen to stay. He would be an essential member of our bullpen for the next five seasons.
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 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 a rough second half. After having a decent first half of the season, he put up a 5.70 ERA in the 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. After that, 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 favourite 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 some video (also good for the Brett Lawrie celebration).
Marcus Semien turns 33 today.
Marcus spent the 2021 season with the Jays, playing in 162 games, hitting .265/.334/.538 with 45 home runs and 15 steals. He won the Silver Slugger for second basemen, the Gold Glove, and finished third in MVP voting.
The Jays finished 91-71 that season, but it was only good for fourth place in the AL East.
Semien signed with the Rangers after that 7-years and $175 million. In his, just short of two seasons, he’s hit .262/.326/.447 with 50 home runs.
He’s had an 11-year career, hitting .257/.324/.445 with 210 home runs and a 41.0 bWAR.
I’d wish you a happy birthday, Marcus, but I hope it comes complete with a loss.
Also, on this date but not a birthday. Cavan Biggio hit for the cycle. He was just the third Blue Jay to do it, joining Jeff Frye and Kelly Gruber.
His day went:
- A strikeout in the first.
- A two-run homer in the third.
- Single in the sixth.
- Double in the eighth.
- And a two-run triple in the ninth. Part of the four-run ninth that got us the win.
He also stole two bases. Anc scored 3 runs, driving in 4.
The game was in Baltimore. I noted in the recap that announced attendance was 9,280, but suggested that about 9000 of them were disguised as empty seats. We won the game 8-5.