UPDATE: Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports that the Jays and Janssen have agreed to a two-year, $5.9 million contract with a $4 million option for 2014. The new deal buys out his final year of arbitration and potentially his first two years of free agency.
3:29 PM: Casey Janssen and the Blue Jays are close to signing a two-year deal that would buy out his final season of arbitration eligibility and cover his first year of free agency, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
No word yet on the money, but Janssen asked for $2.2 million in arbitration while the Blue Jays countered at $1.8 million.
Janssen was briefly demoted to Triple-A in April because he had a minor-league option remaining and there was a bullpen logjam. He also spent a big chunk of the season on the disabled list with a forearm injury, but still logged 56 innings with a 2.26 ERA and 53/14 K/BB ratio. He’s quietly emerged as one of the league’s top setup men, posting a 2.91 ERA in 199 career relief outings.
Davidi notes that Toronto hasn’t gone through with an arbitration hearing since way back in 1997.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.
The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.
Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.
Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.
Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.