Oct 22, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 26
How acquired: 1st round pick, 2009 draft
MLB service time: 3 years, 140 days
2013 salary+bonuses: $2.5 million
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible, free agent in 2017
2013 Stats: 68 G, 61.2 IP, 64 H, 34 R, 31 ER, 7 HR, 19 BB, 58 K, 1.362 WHIP, 3 SV, 5 BS, 4-2, 4.52 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 0.2 WAR
Quotable: “This is what’s best for him. He’ll probably have a hard time coming to grips with that. But it is the best thing for him.” — Davey Johnson, July 26, after Storen was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse
2013 analysis: Nobody on the Nationals roster entered the season with more to prove than Storen, who despite fine overall numbers the previous year would mostly be remembered for his blown save in Game 5 of the NLDS. Storen, though, lost the closer’s job to free agent Rafael Soriano and thus had to try to re-establish himself in a setup role.
The right-hander got off to a horrible start, and though he enjoyed one nice stretch in June, it all fell apart the following month. After back-to-back disastrous outings left him with a 5.95 ERA on July 26, the Nationals had no choice but to demote him to the minors in one of the season’s most-significant moments.
Storen’s time in Syracuse lasted only three weeks, though, and he returned a different man and a different pitcher. Over his final 21 appearances, he posted a 1.40 ERA and allowed only 20 batters to reach base in 19 1/3 innings. His overall season still was a colossal disappointment, but he did head home for the winter feeling more confident about himself.
2014 outlook: Storen will enter 2014 an even bigger question mark than he entered 2013. Was his late-season success a legitimate sign he had come to grips with his situation and re-established himself as a quality, late-inning reliever? Or will he forever be haunted by his final inning of the 2012 season and everything that transpired after that?
There is another question that must be asked: Will Storen even be a member of the Nationals’ bullpen next year? He has found himself on the trade block before, and given the events of the last 12 months, it’s certainly possible he could find himself back on the block again this winter.
However (and wherever) it all plays out, Storen will be one of the most interesting players to monitor in 2014.
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