With the real trade deadline passing and the likelihood of closers changing roles for any other reason than poor performance or injury at its season-long low point, looking ahead to the future for dynasty and keeper leagues is an overlooked focus point as the season ends. Some leagues still have not hit their trade deadline, so looking to acquire or hold onto certain players who are currently competing for roles next year has its advantages.
One of the players who has been essentially auditioning for a role all year is Casey Janssen. The Blue Jays closer has had an excellent season by all regards except for save totals, which have been few and far between for Toronto this season. They have been a solid team all year, but they have for some reason not been put into many save opportunities. Janssen has made the most of his chances since being given the job after Sergio Santos‘s injury, blowing just one save in 14 chances with a 2.11 ERA and peripherals that suggest his performance is sustainable.
Heading into next year, Santos will be ready for spring training, and he was acquired by the Blue Jays to be the closer. With Janssen’s performance in the role, it would be difficult for the Jays to remove him from the position and hand it to Santos once he is healthy. It looks as if, unless he struggles down the stretch run, that Janssen should be able to begin next year as the closer as well. Janssen is signed through next year with a $4m club option for 2014 as well, so he does look like a decent target in dynasty leagues. There will not be many closers hitting free agency next season, but as we saw last winter, trades of closers are certainly not uncommon. The Jays have had issues in the bullpen over the past few years, and the likelihood that they trade Janssen away is slight, and the likelihood that they trade for a closer superior to Janssen is as well.
Of course, anything can happen over the next two months, specifically in terms of an injury. Barring that happening, consecutive seasons with an ERA in the low 2.00′s leave me to believe that Janssen is this good and will be given an opportunity to hold down the ninth inning for the foreseeable future in Toronto. In dynasty leagues it is likely that he is an undervalued asset, and targeting him before your trade deadline is certainly recommended.