TORONTO - Try as he might to avoid them, Casey Janssen has heard the trade rumours.
"You sometimes hear whispers just by default," he said. "Not because I'm looking but someone's heard it or you're at the wrong TV at the wrong time to hear. I've got a job to do here. Alex has always done so many things under the radar and quiet that when you do hear your name it seems to never happen and when you don't hear your name is probably when you're thinking about it more."
Other than his public declaration that the Blue Jays will not be in the market for rental players before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, general manager Alex Anthopoulos is taking a wait and see approach.
First, the market needs to take shape. The impending trade of pitcher Matt Garza by the Chicago Cubs likely will be the first domino to fall.
Second, there remains belief within the organization of a second half turnaround. Anthopoulos cites late-season runs by Oakland, St. Louis and Colorado in recent years as reason to hope.
At 45-50, 12.5 games behind division-leading Boston and 9.5 out of the second wild card spot held by Texas, the climb will be steep. This 10-game home stand runs through July 28 and is the season's longest. There are two more with American League East rival Tampa Bay (following Friday's 8-5 loss to the Rays, an interleague set of three with the Dodgers and four with bottom-feeding Houston.
They'll know where they stand by then.
"The guys we have in this clubhouse," said Janssen of the reason why he still believes. "The track records speak to their career norms and I think a lot of people in this room haven't played up to their capabilities. Other than that competitiveness, pride and we still have a bunch of games in our division and those are the teams we're going to have to pass to get to where we want to be."
Then there's the matter of that run in June. You remember, that franchise record-tying win streak.
"That says, hey, it's in there," said Janssen. "We can get back, we can win 11 games in a row and we're going to have to (do it again.")
Janssen is an intriguing option for teams looking for late-inning relief. Making $3.9 million this season, he's got a budget-friendly $4 million club option for 2014.
Janssen has converted 18 of 19 save opportunities this season and since assuming the closer's role in May, 2012, he's been successful on 40 of 44 occasions.
A career Blue Jay since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 draft, Janssen can't control his fate and won't worry about it.
"I'm not nervous about it at all," he said. "I talked to Adam Lind about it and was like, man, first and foremost I want to win. Period. Then we talk about how awesome it would be to win here. I pretty much grew up here in my baseball life and there's a big piece of my heart in this city and for a lot of these teammates as well. I want to win with my buddies in a city that has welcomed me into their city."