Right-handed reliever Casey Janssen and outfielder Nate McLouth are now free agents due to the fact that the Washington Nationals declined their option for the 2016 season, according to James Wagner of the Washington Post.
The Nationals will now have a five-day window to negotiate with their own free agent players. Washington has eight: Janssen, McLouth, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Denard Span, Matt Thornton and Dan Uggla.
Washington declined Janssen's $7-million mutual option for 2016. Under his contract, he receives a $1.5 million buyout and has the opportunity to sign with any team. The same goes for McLouth, who was declined of his $6.5-million team option for 2016. The outfielder, who has struggled with injuries, got a $750,000 buyout.
Do not expect any of the eight Nationals to accept a qualifying offer, if given offer. Ever since the qualifying offer system was set in place in 2012, no player has accepted the offer. Last year, all 12 players that were extended offers declined.
Each and every team has until 5:00 PM ET on Friday to extend qualifying offers to players who will be free agents. The offer is a one-year, $15.8 million deal this offseason. If a player rejects a qualifying offer and then signs with a different team, then his former team get a compensation draft-pick, which is usually a first round pick. November 13 is the last day for the players to reject or accept the offer.
Washington's top four free agents of Fister, Zimmermann, Span and Desmond will most likely test the free agent markets. It would be very surprising if they accepted a qualifying offer, nevertheless get a qualifying offer from Washington. All four have the ability to make a big splash and snag a long-term deal over the offseason.
Janssen, 34, posted a 4.95 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and a 27-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 40 innings this season. He was expected to take over the role of Tyler Clippard after he was dealt, but Janssen never came around to be the reliever the Nationals expected in the second half of the season. He should find a one-year contract with a different club this winter.
Over 48 appearances in 2015, Janssen threw 40.0 innings and gave up 38 hits and 22 runs, a 4.95 ERA. He played his first eight seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays before making way to the Nationals.
The other 34-year-old, McLouth, was an easier call than Janssen. The outfielder has been dominated by injuries, which have not allowed him to get any real playing time. It will be nearly impossible for McLouth to find a starting job, so he will try to latch on as organizational depth moving forward in his career.
The 25th round draft pick in the 2000 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates did not play in the 2015 season, but should hit somewhere around .240 with four home runs with under 50 games played during the 2016 season. His best season came in 2008, McLouth's only All-Star season, in which he hit .276 with 26 home runs, 94 RBI and a league-high 46 doubles over 152 games for the Pirates.