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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Blue Jays sign Casey Janssen

Associated Press

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' streak of avoiding arbitration is up to 15 years, and Casey Janssen is happy about it.

The reliever agreed Monday to a $5.9 million, two-year contract, a day before a scheduled hearing in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"Hanging out in Toronto for a few more years is going to be great," Janssen said Tuesday during a telephone conference call.

Janssen gets $2 million this year and $2.9 million in 2013. The deal includes a $4 million team option for 2014.

He was one of the team's more reliable options in a mediocre bullpen last year, going 6-0 with two saves and a 2.26 ERA.

Toronto hasn't gone to a hearing since defeating right-hander Bill Risley in 1997.

"There's always a little bit of excitement and a little bit of comfort in knowing that there is a guarantee," Janssen said of his multiyear deal. "But like I said, the future for the Blue Jays is bright and that really appealed to me."

General manager Alex Anthopoulos has overhauled the bullpen, allowing Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco to leave and sign with the New York Mets.

Francisco Cordero likely will fill the setup role for closer Sergio Santos, who was acquired in December from the Chicago White Sox. Darren Oliver and Jason Frasor also were added during the offseason.

"Seeing all the moves was a nice thing," Janssen said. "You can never have enough quality arms."

The 30-year-old Orange, Calif., native is 21-19 with nine saves and a 3.81 ERA in 221 appearances for Toronto during five seasons. He said Anthopoulos first mentioned the possibility of a multiyear deal during the team's cross-country caravan last month.

"I use the analogy that once you've built a car, you want to be able to drive it," Janssen said. "I felt like we were getting to that point where the car is getting built, and you want to go take it for a spin. You see the young arms, you hear about them and our lineup, and then what he did with the additions to the bullpen, I definitely like our chances."

Toronto was 81-81 last year, finishing fourth in an AL East dominated by the New York Yankees, Boston and Tampa Bay.

"I think we can contend and I think we can contend for years to come," Janssen said. "I want to win, I want to win so bad."