Janssen grateful to fans, city of Toronto upon exit

Former closer spent eight seasons with Blue Jays before signing with Nats

Janssen grateful to fans, city of Toronto upon exit

TORONTO -- Casey Janssen has started a new chapter of his career, but before he closed the door on Toronto once and for all, the club's former closer went on Twitter to thank fans for their eight-plus years of support.

Janssen officially signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Nationals on Monday afternoon. The deal also includes a $7.5 mutual option for the 2016 season that can be bought out for $1.5 million. The move had been expected since late last week, but it was formally announced by Washington after the veteran right-hander passed his physical.

When the regular season opens in early April, it will mark the first time Janssen has worn another big league uniform. He was one of the franchise's longest-tenured players, and Janssen let it be known he's departing with warm memories of the city and its fans.

"I want to thank the city of Toronto, the fans and most importantly my teammates for a great eight-plus years with you," Janssen said. "I wish so badly that we could've brought a World Series home to you! Thanks for your unwavering support. You will always hold a special place in my heart."

The departure of Janssen from Toronto had been expected for the past several months. He'll likely become an eighth-inning setup man in Washington, while the Blue Jays have yet to fill a rather glaring hole at the back end of their bullpen.

If Toronto is unable to add another reliable reliever in the coming weeks, Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup and Aaron Sanchez likely will become the prime candidates for the job in Spring Training.

Janssen ranks fourth on the Blue Jays' all-time saves list with 90. He finished behind Tom Henke (217), Duane Ward (121) and Billy Koch (100). Janssen posted a 3.94 ERA while striking out 28 over 45 2/3 innings in 2014.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.