The Nats signed Casey Janssen yesterday. At best he's Clippard 0.8, at worst he's Brad Lidge.
Clippard 0.8 because he was really pretty damn good in 2011-2013. His WHIP of 0.977 is pretty close to Clip's 0.956 from 2011-2014 and while he doesn't K as many batters (8.9 to Clip's 10.2) he doesn't walk as many either (2.0 vs 3.0). That Casey would be an effective replacement for about 80% of Clippard's innings (Janssen averaged about 60 IP, Clip about 75)
Brad Lidge because he was coming off an injury filled year and could easily be worthless in 2015. All the fancy stats shot up quickly in the wrong direction. You like to see GBs more than FBs. GBs dropped like a rock (48% to 34% ) while FBs shot up (29% to 43% and his HR -rate went up so it's not lazy fly balls here). You like to see his K-rates stay high. Dropped like a heavier rock from 8.5 to 5.5. You like to see FB speed be stable. It dropped like... you get the picture. 89.9 to 89.1. As can be expected from all this - contact rates way up. You'd like to blame this on sickness or injury but the reality is that the K-rate, FB speed and contact rates are all part of multi-year trends that really aren't uncommon for a guy heading into his mid 30s. The big thing for me is the speed. He's just getting slower across the board.
So it's a bad gamble? I wouldn't say that. At that cost, you're really only hoping Janssen has one more year in him and while I don't necessarily like it, for 5 million spread over 2 seasons I can't see a big downside. Like the Lidge debacle it would only cost you a couple games early on if it goes terribly wrong and maybe, just maybe it goes right.
The real problem is it doesn't do much for solving the bullpen issue. The pen issue isn't that the Nats don't have enough good arms. Taking everyone in the majors and minors and in free agency they could pick up, there's a decent pen there. The issue is that it's going to take time to find these arms and that the Nats lack enough dependable arms to help shorten that time frame. Janssen is not dependable. He's just another question mark added to a pen full of them. The Nats need some certainty not another 40 starters invited to camp redux.
How impactful is what appears to be a Clippard/? for Janssen/Escobar trade? Not very season wise - the Scherzer deal should suck up the game or two potentially lost here. I do worry about the playoffs though. Scherzer can't be in more than a couple games. Clippard and whoever can.
Final verdict : decent move but not exactly the move the Nats should be making.