Janssen, Lind, DeRosa expected to return
Blue Jays can exercise club options on trio for 2014 season
TORONTO -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has a series of tough decisions to make this offseason, but none of them is expected to involve the players on his roster with club options.
Toronto controls the fate of right-hander Casey Janssen, designated hitter Adam Lind and utility man Mark DeRosa. The club has yet to make any formal announcement on the status of the trio, but it seems to be a mere formality that all will return in 2014.
The main reason for the continued uncertainty has more to do with club policy of keeping things under wraps until the official offseason actually begins than it does with evaluating potential alternatives.
"We always wait until the day that we have to make the decision," Anthopoulos said recently. "Guys that performed and had a good year, they put themselves in a great position and I think that kind of speaks for itself.
"The only reason I don't come out and say, especially when guys have performed really well, you never know, god forbid something happens during the month of October, something changes and you've already made a commitment to exercise that option."
All three players seem destined to return, but Janssen's $4 million option for 2014 is the closest thing to being an absolute lock. The veteran right-hander excelled during his first full season as the club's closer, and despite a lingering shoulder injury he managed to save all but two of his 36 opportunities this year.
Janssen doesn't possess the typical mid-to-high 90 mph velocity that most late-inning relievers have, but he has found a different way to be effective. Instead of trying to overpower hitters, he relies on pinpoint command and a variety of offspeed pitches to keep the opposition off-balance.
With more than enough depth in the bullpen, it's possible the Blue Jays will use some of their assets to fill a void in another area. That could lead to Janssen eventually being placed on the trading block, but no matter what happens, his contract for 2014 seems all but guaranteed, even if he's not holding his breath for the announcement.
"Nothing is final until it's final," Janssen said. "I just hope I made the the decision as hard as it can be in their court to pick it up. Regardless, I just set myself up for a healthy offseason, make some gains and come back even better than this year."
Lind's fate seemed far less certain just a few months ago, but a lot has changed since then. Toronto has club options for Lind in each of the next three years, but the only way Lind was going to have a chance at that future income was with a bounceback season in 2013.
The native of Indiana did just that by hitting .288 with 23 homers and 67 RBIs in 143 games. His struggles against left-handed pitching continued, but his overall OPS of .854 was the highest it has been since winning a Silver Slugger Award in 2009.
Toronto could still opt to buy out Lind's $7 million option next year for $2 million, but that seems rather unlikely. Anthopoulos was full of praise for Lind late in the year and seemed pleased with the overall results and how it would translate into future success.
"I have no idea what's going to happen with that, but I know I've done well enough that I'll be employed somewhere," Lind said. "So, my mind can ease a little bit.
"I think I did pretty good. I almost hit .290, over 20 homers, I stayed in the middle of the lineup all year. It's definitely a season, so far in my career, that I'll look back on as one of my better ones."
DeRosa's status for next year has less to do with the Blue Jays than it does his family. Toronto seems rather intent on bringing the veteran infielder back in 2014, but before that can happen DeRosa must first decide whether he's willing to play for at least one more season.
The 38-year-old has been around professional baseball since he was taken in the seventh round of the 1996 Draft by the Braves. DeRosa has said that if the decision was his alone he would play another season, but he still needs to have some lengthy discussions with his family before anything can be finalized.
A frequent joke/complaint by DeRosa's wife is whether he wants to spend another year raising 24 other players in the Major Leagues or his two children at home. It won't be an easy decision for DeRosa to make, but from the Blue Jays' perspective they're expected to want him back to platoon with Lind as long as he's willing.
"I'm happy with what I've done in my career," DeRosa said. "I'm not 100 percent happy with the way I played this year, but I did a lot of good things. I've proved a lot of things to myself, which is what I wanted to do. Whatever their decision is I'll be happy.
"After three years of being unproductive I helped us win some ballgames. So, I'm proud for the fact that I didn't walk away, that I grinded through what was a tough situation for a couple of years, and was able to re-establish myself as a pretty good ball player."