The Washington Nationals have declined contract options on outfielder Nate McLouth and reliever Casey Janssen for the 2016 season.
The options would have paid McLouth $6.5 million and Janssen $7 million, respectively. Instead, the team elected to give the players buyouts totaling $2.25 million. The pair join six other Nationals entering the free agent market this winter, a group that includes starters Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister.
McLouth missed all of the 2015 season after shoulder surgery, so declining the option for the 34-year-old was an easy decision for Washington. He hit just .173/.280/.237 with a home run and four steals in just 139 at bats in 2014, his lone season with the Nationals, making the $10.75 million deal he signed with the Nationals after the 2013 season essentially a sunk cost for the team.
Unlike McLouth, Janssen at least saw the field this season, his only season with the Nationals. He made 48 appearances, posting a 4.95 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 40 innings of work, walking eight and striking out 27. The 2015 season represented a regression for Janssen, who had spent the previous three years as Toronto's primary closer, with a 2.94 ERA and 81 saves in 162 innings of work. His $1.5 million buyout means that the Nationals will wind up paying him $5 million for those 40 innings of below-average relief work.
Given McLouth's age and declining production, he will likely have to settle for a minor-league deal this offseason, perhaps one with a major league option. Janssen, however, could be looked at as a cheap bullpen option for a team looking to round out its relief corps.