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Storen sent to AAA, Clippard lashes out

Jul 27, 2013, 3:23 AM EDT

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Drew Storen's roller-coaster season, which bottomed out Friday afternoon during a disastrous ninth-inning performance, will now transfer from the big-league mound in Washington to the minor-league stage in Syracuse, a not-unsurprising move that reverberated through the Nationals clubhouse and prompted a critical response toward the organization from one of his fellow relievers.

Storen was optioned to Class AAA following Friday night's game, a move the Nationals needed to make to clear spot on the big-league roster for reliever Ryan Mattheus, who came off the disabled list earlier in the day.

"This is what's best for him," manager Davey Johnson said. "He'll probably have a hard time coming to grips with that. But it is the best thing for him."

An elite closer in 2011 who saved 43 games for a Nationals club that won only 80 for the season, Storen missed the first half of 2012 after undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow but pitched effectively down the stretch to re-earn the closer's job heading into the postseason.Read more ยป

  1. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:26 AM

    The Storens need to deal with this like professionals. This twitter stuff is embarrassing. And I'm sorry, if the "demotion" is what did this to Storen, then he wasn't mature enough or tough enough to handle the role anyway. In the off season, Rizzo put together a backend of the bullpen that was second to none in the majors on paper, and the only reason it hasn't worked out perfectly is that Storen isn't as good as we thought or is a head case. Either way, that's on him, not Rizzo or "the organization."

  2. 4571c960-cc1f-11e1-909b-000bcdcb471e - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    I agree with Clippard. And I admire Tyler for sticking up for his friend.

  3. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    I wonder if Clippard would still feel the organization was handling things badly and disrespecting Storen if the decision coming out of Game 5 had been to make Clippard the closer and move Storen to set-up man?

  4. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    Bottom line, just do what they ask of you.

  5. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    So Soriano is making Storen not putch well?

  6. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:41 AM

    Clippard was demoted and has pitched great. Sometimes the best strategy is to shut up and play.

  7. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    Whatever the cause, Drew has not been effective. The same thing would be done to any of the other pitchers with options, if they had performed to the same level as Drew has this year. If the Nats are going to make a late run, then they cannot afford to bring in a guy who has given up so many runs late in the game.It's not personal, it's business. Rizzo is just doing his job. I cannot help but recall how Nate Karns took his demotion, in comparison to this. John Lannan worked his way back to the majors, and he is not nearly as talented as Storen. If Drew uses this opportunity to work out his problems, whatever they are, then the sooner he will be back in the bigs.

  8. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    The same message was sent to Clip? How so? Because he wasn't handed the closer job if they were going to take it away from Storen? Baloney. The only message to Clip was: "You're one of the best setup guys in baseball. Keep doing what you're doing. You're going to be a key part of the best bullpen in baseball and win a world series. That ok with you?"I understand Clip being upset by what has happened to his friend, but he better not let it effect his performance. If he does, he's as immature as Storen. Boys, this is a performance based business. Get used to it, or find yourself another profession that has less pressure, but is a lot less rewarding financially.

  9. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    Well said Laddie. Karns, TyMo, Marrero, Kobernus, all handled their demotions like pros. They know they are lucky to have options or they'd find themselves in H-Rod's position. Drew needs to think about that.I guess Danny is lucky he doesn't have media savvy parents to complain publicly about the treatment of their son.

  10. JaneB - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    I was mad about the Soriano purchase when it happened. That they threw Drew out there today when he had a huge fever was unforgivable. Not that it matters a whit, but I've left the "I trust in Rizzo" and "I trust in Davey" camps officially and forever today. They mishandled one of the most promising pitchers in baseball. I love him and I hope that he gets traded and pronto to almost any other club, as long as there is management that will treat him well. Drew Storen is the real deal. the idea that this "isn't personal, it's just business" is BS. I call BS on that. THEY helped make the problem, and he's taking the fall for it. Drew Storen is not immature. He is human. He was handed a raw deal. I never thought I'd turn on the Nats. I haven't turned on the players. But of all the things the management has done, this is the thing that breaks it for me. I could spit nails, I am so mad. This is wrong on every level. On every level.

  11. Sec. 1D 10T, My Sofa - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    You wanna be a closer, this is the territory. There is no mercy; there is only "Do. Or do not."

  12. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    Thinking out loud. I know no facts.I wonder had Storen cone in today and blew the Mets away, would Abad been tge one to go down?Was Davey giving hin one more chance to stay?Just wondering.

  13. David Proctor - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    Whether or not you supported the decision to get Soriano is irrelevant. It's irrelevant whether Storen liked it. I wouldn't expect him to like it. But he's a professional. And this IS a business. Storen's job was to go out there and be the best damn reliever he could be. He has a 5.00+ ERA this year. If his fragile psyche couldn't handle the demotion, how would you expect him to handle closing duties in a pennant race? I say this as a big-time Storen fan. This is what's best for him.

  14. Sec. 1D 10T, My Sofa - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    That said, they're going to have to move a bunch of people if they keep this up.

  15. RaleighNatsFan - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    Is there any reason in the world the Organization had to announce the Storen decision immediately following a long emotionally charged double header? Couldn't they give his teammates (especially Clippard) a little time to absorb the news first, so such ill advised potentially derisive comments wouldn't make the news. The team doesn't need this kind of press, especially with the way things are going.. They should have waited a while before making it public.

  16. pwilly - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    I'll give Clip a pass on his comments because the news was fresh and Storen is his good friend. And I'll wait to pass judgement on Storen until I hear from him. But I really hope he's not so mentally fragile that just bringing in another closer is enough to derail his entire season. Either you can get guys out or you can't. You've got to be consistent to stay in the Bigs.

  17. David Proctor - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:55 AM

    RaleighNats, they had to announce it tonight because somebody had to be dropped off the roster.

  18. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    How many people out there would trade places even with this set back in a heartbeat.He hasnt had it that bad.

  19. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    "the idea that this "isn't personal, it's just business" is BS. I call BS on that. THEY helped make the problem, and he's taking the fall for it."If he had pitched better this year, he wouldn't be being sent down now. MLB jobs don't come with lifetime appointments. If a player is still in a position where he can be optioned to the minors, he has to expect that it will happen if his performance is not satisfactory. Isn't Storen the Nats MLBPA player rep? It's his union that negotiated the CBA. He has to know the deal.

  20. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    His ERA is just under 6.All managements fault I guess.

  21. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    Clip is professional he is over it by now.Some fans are slow, but players aren't

  22. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    The only way you can say that THEY helped make the problem is if (1) you think that it was unavoidable that Drew would take his demotion so hard that he'd be unable to perform at an acceptable level this year and (2) you think that when a players dresses for the game, says he's able to pitch, and heads to the bullpen, Davey should know that in fact he is too sick to pitch. I'm sorry, I don't think either of those is true, or should be true. Drew Storen is getting paid $2.5 MILLION DOLLARS to play baseball this year. To say he's been handed a raw deal is a little over the top I'd say. Just like John Lannan he will be just fine, especially if he uses this setback, as Lannan did, to get better and be ready to do his job when he gets another chance.

  23. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    Its not perminent either Fix yourself upSome ill get hurt, always happens.Your back up, but this time effective.What is negative about it.

  24. Sec. 1D 10T, My Sofa - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    Closers *are* different. If Mariano Rivera had thrown all those same pitches in the 7th inning, he gets a nice paycheck from about 7 different teams, and a pat on the back when he's done.

  25. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    As I said 99.9999% of people would trade places with him in a heart beat.

  26. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    Mariano is different

  27. RaleighNatsFan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    DP – Right, I know that had to announce dropping someone tonight, but ten minutes after the game was over, Davey was announcing the decision, probably before the team even had a chance to shower, with press milling about looking for hot comments. Couldn't they have waited an hour, to give everyone a chance to catch their breath after the walk off?

  28. Paul - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    Debate the Soriano signing if you want, but Drew Storen was not performing well this year in his new setup role. Maybe the demotion will motivate him, maybe it will give him a chance to work out whatever is going on to make him less effective. Maybe it just subtracts an ineffective pitcher from the big league bullpen.At the end of the day, Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson need to do the things that will help the Nationals win baseball games, not worry about the feelings of Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard.

  29. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    Agreed. He had a job to do and didnt do it.

  30. ExposedinDC - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    The only reliever I have confidence in is Clippard….most definitely including Rafael Soriano

  31. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    Easily the best.

  32. JaneB - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    And PS hiring Soriano DID send a message to Clip. How can you say otherwise? The Nats management just descended to Dan Snyder territory for me. They CAUSED the problem and they make Drew pay. I can't even explain this. But this is just a breach of something fundamental to me. Storen had the team say to him publicly "we don't believe in you." ONE GAME. It was a huge game. But it was ONE GAME. They cut the legs out from under him. They did the same to Clip. And when that shakes his confidence, they act like they have no part in it.If we'd bought Storen off the shelf somewhere, it would be different. But he was our guy from the start. We were helping him grow intro the closer of the future. And in a moment when the team needed to hang tight, they walked away from him. It would have shaken anybody.I hope another team, any other team, comes calling for him. I wish they'd traded him to anyone, even the Phillies, instead of sending him down. I hope that whatever team he ends up on, because he can't play for this managerial team, I hope he beats us every single time he faces us, from now on. I will root even for the Phillies if he is pitching against us.ANd I say that bourbon and maalox free.

  33. David Proctor - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    JaneB, are you Drew Storen's mom? Sheesh. Talk about an overreaction.

  34. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    $2.5 million goes a hell of a lot further in Syracuse than it does in DC. And wasn't Ike Davis, the very guy who hit the 3 run blast off Storen today, shipped back to AAA for a while earlier this year?

  35. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:15 AM

    Wow your taking this personel.I think I know tge problem, but I do need to figure out to word it correctly.Maybe someone else can say it better than me.

  36. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:15 AM

    Close to what I was thinking.

  37. ExposedinDC - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    JaneB….strong sentiment….but I like it .

  38. David Proctor - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    "And PS hiring Soriano DID send a message to Clip."You're right it did. And Clippard is having the best season of his career. Storen is having the worse of his. It's not management's fault that Storen got his feelings hurt and decided to lose focus or confidence or whatever the issue is. Storen should have seen it as a challenge and worked to get even better. Instead he crumbled. That's not what you want in a closer.I'm still very confident in Storen's abilities. Sending him to AAA is a way to press the restart button and let him start over. When he comes back, he'll be good.

  39. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    Yes Davis spent to LasVegas to work on his swibg.Happens alot.The I's send peopke up and down every week.Storen will be fine. Lot of over reaction.

  40. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    Clippard saved about 35 or so last year and when he got less effective Storen took the job.Clip didnt sulk he got better.That is the big different.

  41. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    Jane, please explain what the message was to Clip when Soriano was signed. I really don't understand that. Feel is right. Ike Davis was sent down. Lots of good major leaguers had had that experience. Even Hall of Famers as Feel's brother Phil reminded us after the game (Willie McCovey). It happens when you have options. H-Rod didn't and he's gone. JFurthermore, just how many meltdowns in late innings from Drew are you willing to stomach in order to keep developing this closer of the future? Frankly, I'm happy he's going to work out his problems, whether they are physical or mental (and let's not forget his complete inability to hold runners on base or notice when they are stealing on him as well as turning into a human rain delay), in Syracuse. MLB is not group therapy.

  42. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    Folks, this is a business. I love Storen, but he hasn't performed. His ERA is near 6.00, which is unreal for a reliever. Post-Game 5, they didn't trust him to close, hence Soriano. Storen couldn't handle it, for whatever reason. Teams don't have the luxury of unlimited supply of mediocre (or, in Storen's case, bad) relievers. Davey doesn't trust him in close games; I wouldn't either.Clipp sticking up for his friend is understandable, but I think he could've toned it down a tad.Mr. Rizzo would like to talk to you on line 2, Tyler.

  43. John Williford - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    Great reliever pitchers go in any situation and act like its the 1st pitch of the game. Nothing phases them. They don't sweat on the mound. They don't breathe heavy. And it doesn't matter to them if the last pitch was called a ball or a strike. They know they will get the job done.Storen experienced early career MLB success. Then he leveled off after his surgery and became predictable. Now batters won't chase his slider on the outside. They wait for him to bring it over the middle because they know he won't go inside. Once a runner is on, Drew has a slow delivery while in the stretch with a slow stiff leg kick to home plate allowing base runners to practically jog to steal the base. His ERA has blown up and worst of all, he doesn't have confidence in himself. I am a big fan of his but I agree he has to go back to AAA to get his mojo back, fix his slow stretch delivery and learn how to study batters and fool them. Drew, you are too talented to lose your way. Go back to AAA and find your way. We will wait. You're worth it.

  44. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    JohnW, that's a very good summary of the problems Drew has. The inability to stop or even slow down the running game is a big liability for a guy who wants to pitch in the late innings. I too think he is talented and hope he can solve this and all his problems. It's not easy being a major league reliever, especially a closer who is essentially expected to be perfect every time out. Drew had success early and seemed to develop a sense of entitlement to the position. But closers don't stay closers unless they succeed a very high percentage of the time. Right now, he isn't reliable enough even to fulfill a mopup role.

  45. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    Great points, John Williford, and well stated. And you're so right about batters not chasing that slider (which he overuses) any longer.I love the guy, but I don't share your confidence he'll be back. Not with us, anyway.

  46. John Williford - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:54 AM

    Sunshine, Drew is talented. Many teams would take him and teach him how to become a pitcher instead of a thrower. Hopefully at AAA, he will realize that and come back better.The NATS aren't going to discard him because he had a bad year. He wasn't drafted in the 1st round several years ago because of that talent.

  47. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    He was drafted in the first round because he was signable and the Lerners were going to drop a boatload of money to sign Stras. There is no way he was going to go that high otherwise. Anyway, who drafts a closer in the first round? But I agree, the team is not going to part with him any time soon. He's young, under team control for several more years, and not horribly expensive, if he can get his act together. Certainly right now the return would not be good enough to warrant trading him.I'm not overwhelmed by his talent. More and more you see relievers with mid 90s fastball. His is not that special unless he can command it and keep it at the knees. Lately he's throwing it up, and sometimes he seems like he's just letting it loose and has no idea where it's going to go. His slider is nasty but I agree he has come to rely on it too much. Hitters have learned to recognize it and lay off it because he isn't throwing it for strikes, he's hoping for a swing and miss.

  48. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    222, I never understood the rationale for picking him that high. He seemed like he was "always" a reliever, even at Stanford. I never quite got that. Usually, good relievers (Clipp is a good example) flame out as a starter, learn to relieve, and go on from there. Storen has always been a "professional" reliever, and that was always a drawback in my book.Of course, when he was saving 35-40 games a year I didn't mind. Now that he's got a 6.00 ERA, I mind plenty.We'll agree to disagree as to whether he makes it back here. I just hope it doesn't screw up Clipp too much. Could be the worst kind of domino effect.

  49. Amr Khani - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Clipp is just a young guy speaking emotionally about his friend. But logically, he doesn't make much sense. If he's implying that the signing of Soriano actually caused Storen to be terrible this year, that's not on the organization, that's on Storen to be a little tougher. Storen had 48 appearances and no matter what happened previously, when he's on the mound, Storen's job is to get batters out, irregardless of score, inning, etc. He didn't do that. I personally think Soriano is not the greatest and borders on unprofessional as well (a guy that actually tries harder when a meaningless stat like a "SAVE" is on the line), but this is on Storen.

  50. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Went to bed before the Storen move but not really surprised, as from recent stories it seemed to be on the table. That said, I can also understand why Clippard was upset, given their friendship. I'm also still somewhat baffled by Drew's being on the mound at all yesterday given his reported illness. Do feel for the guy but maybe he'll turn things around and take some positives out of the move eventually.

  51. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    look at how Lannan handled demotion and Storen…I think Drew needs to grow up…and yes, maybe the Soriano move hurt Drew…but a true champion should have used that for motivation to be better…I really do not feel for Drew

  52. mick - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    having said that the Clip reveals serious problems on this team.or .clearly Clip and others do not care for Rizzo/Davey…..that is what I get from all this

  53. BigCat - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    You can talk about family this and family that, but the bottom line is that MLB is a high high dollar business and when you don't do you job you get demoted or released. Drew needs to keep his yap shut and go to Syracuse and get his shit together

  54. Nats 128 - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    50 good comments. I listened to an hour of Bill Rowland on the Fan Radio after Phil Wood went off and it was a discussion on Drew.Not one commenter on the radio said that Drew needed to be sent down. Of course all the anger centered on team chemistry and blaming Soriano. Sorry, Soriano didn't do this to Drew. Drew did this to Drew. Lefty OPS at 1.040, 5.95 overall ERA and all the stolen bases have made it unavoidable.If Drew didnt have options he would have been RELEASED!

  55. erika - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Eric - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Haha, oops, I was logged in as my wife (yes, eric and erika, go figure ;).Well, I've been extending my All-Star-break break from baseball, as I have a lot to take care of before going on vacation next week.But, I wanted to drop in and comment on the Storen demotion. I understand the move, but it's really too bad it's had to come to this. I've really been pulling for him.As for the post All Star break performance overall…blech. It's hard to take. Hopefully by the time I get back from vacation they will be on a better track, even if it doesn't net them a post season slot.

  57. Wilson Ramos - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Would rather have John Rocker and Eric Gagne's love child on the mound than Storen at this point. Too bad the organization hurt the bullpen's feelings.

  58. phil dunton - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Soriano certainly isn't worth $28 million over two years. That type of money should only be for a lights out relievers like Mariano Riveria. Soriano has blow several save opportunities and he hardly ever escapes a closing opportunity without putting a couple of runners on base. Furthermore, he appears to have a surly attitude….he has already had a run-in with Bryce Harper, criticizing his play in the outfield.

  59. JamesFan - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Careful Clip. Yes, defend your fried and room mate but don't go overboard.I like to see accountability. Drew cannot hold runners on and his pitching has been awful over a significant period, and sulking is not going to let him keep his job.Rizzo strengthened the team by bringing in Soriano over the winter. I suspect that Soriano wasn't too happy about being jerked Friday night either, but I was glad to see it.

  60. Roberto Fenili - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Re Nats128. After listening to the callers defending Storen, you would think they wanted him added to the 60 day DL because his very bruised ego prevents him from performing instead of being sent down,

  61. Andrew - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    This game really isn't that complicated. If you get people out you force leadership to make choices. My guess is that if Storen had an ERA under 2 that he would be closing right now instead of Soriano, no matter how much he is earning. What is incredible to me is that this is about getting outs and Storen doesn't get outs. Simple.PS. He also doesn't hold runners either, which if you're going to allow baserunners is a problem. Work it out Drew, come back and get outs.

  62. Andrew - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    One more thought, when you have a bat in your hand your job is to get on base. I can only imagine that the only reason Chad Tracy and Roger Bernadina and Steve Lombardozzi and Kurt Suzuki are still here is because the organization is bereft of better talent, which is an organizational failure. That is where Clippard and all the other nay sayers have an argument, not because they sent Storen down. The non-pitching aspects of this team, particularly team defence and bench offense are the real differences between this year and last, which, to me, is an indication that Rizzo and others did not effectively evaluate their resources.

  63. Peacack - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    the job is about mental toughness. Storen has failed to adjust. Let him get fixed and hopefully get his family under control…but he has been AWFUL this year, leaving him up is not a winning move right now.

  64. Oldguy - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Clippard was 100% right. Period. Amen. Management is responsible for this mess of a season, starting with Davey talking WS in April. Over the years many good teams have been wrecked by trouble from the top. Doubt that? Read Francona's book or Torre's book. Listen to people who have been through that crap.Rizzo saying getting Soriano had nothing to do with Storen? Give me a break!I don't get really pissed often, but this does it. And the bashing of Storen that went on all winter? Nah, no problem. I've been STH since '08 and have never been this angry before.Has anybody been watching the sendoff of Rivera? You know how many big saves he blew, including ALCS game 3 in 2004?I didn't think so.

  65. DJB - Jul 27, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    I agree that management is responsible for the mess, but you need to move Clippard after his comment. I've been hard on Rizzo, who I think should be fired, but the kind of statement from his employee is unacceptable. If I were to challenge my bosses decisions in a public forum, I would expect to be fired. The problem with management has been it is too soft on players, not too hard. Espinosa, HRod, Storen and the other players that are clearly head cases have been coddled for far too long. Move him for prospects or a decent bat.

  66. Oldguy - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Yeah, right.

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