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.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.