By adding veteran players on minor league deals, the Padres allow their 40-man roster to stay in tact while protecting themselves from the four current rule-5 players they have on their team.
Jabari Blash, Josh Martin, Luis Perdomo and Blake Smith all have to remain on the 25 man big league roster the entire season in order to stay with the Padres. Blash has an outside chance, but the Padres will definitely not carry all three pitchers. That is just not going to happen.
Out of the trio of right handed pitchers, Perdomo has the highest ceiling but he also has the least experience having never pitched above high A-ball. The 22-year old Dominican has nasty stuff, but some question his ultimate success at the professional level.
In signing Janssen the Padres essentially have one of the spots from a departed rule-5 guy filled. I am sure that was a determining factor for Janssen in choosing San Diego on a minor league deal. Expect the Padres to sign a few more real viable major league players in the next week or two. Paging Pedro Alvarez and Tim Lincecum.
The right handed reliever Janssen had three great years in Toronto from 2012-2014 where he recorded 81 saves and held a sub 3.00 ERA in a tough American League Eastern division. He proved to be very useful for the Blue Jays and had great success in Toronto in his career. Last season he pitched in a setup role for the Nationals and was hit pretty hard. He went 2-5 with a 4.95 ERA and a 1.150 WHIP in 40 innings.
Janssen has seen a velocity drop for the past few seasons and that is a bit of a concern. He was never considered a fireball closer, and instead relied on excellent command and a very nice cutter. The velocity drop is something to keep an eye on, but if he can rectify that, think of him as this years version of Shawn Kelley. Janssen does have experience closing, but I wouldn’t expect him to be involved in that role unless Fernando Rodney gets hurt.
With a nine-year career and a 3.63 ERA, Janssen should provide a nice boost to the Padres bullpen. Protection for the rule-five guys is exactly what the team needs. You can be sure the Padres coaching staff is evaluating the trio of pitchers very intently. Spring is here and Padres baseball is in full effect. What a wonderful time of the year it is. Go Padres!!!