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Roster review: Drew Storen

Oct 22, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

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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.

  1. David Proctor - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    I can’t imagine trading Storen this offseason. There’s no point. His value is at an all-time low and it’s almost certain to be significantly higher next season. I really don’t see us trading him at all because, after Soriano leaves next year, we’ll need someone to close. Clippard will hit free agency before Storen.

    But if we do eventually trade him, I can’t imagine it being now. Maybe next year.

  2. natslifer - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Isn’t all this trade talk about Clippard and Storen a little dramatic? We have to plan for a world without Soriano (certainly ’15 and IMO there’s got to be a backup plan for ’14 in case he regresses more). The optics on the money aren’t typical for a bullpen but the tactics of how Rizzo improves his bullpen (an obvious and stated goal) get even harder if you trade one of them.

  3. therealjohnc - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    Trading Storen at this point is likely a “sell low” move. His upside is enough that you don’t trade him just to trade him.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 22, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    he is going to earn a raise, right? I think that’s lot of money tied to 3 bullpen arms.

    • sjm308 - Oct 22, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      Once again, why are people worried about money? We are now a successful franchise. Lerners have shown they will spend. Who cares if we have expensive arms in the bullpen if they produce?

      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:11 AM

        I consider them expensive which is why I don’t like this. I know it is not my money.

      • jd - Oct 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM

        It’s not that we are worried about the money per say. But every franchise operates within certain budget parameters and within these parameters certain amounts are allocated to certain positions and successful franchises don’t allocate a large percentage of the budget to the bullpen. It’s not necessary. You are asking each of these guys to pitch one clean inning a game whenever they are called upon. There are tons of pitchers who can do this, Pittsburgh built a bullpen around a bunch of unknowns, the Cards pen is all young arms etc.

        The trick with bullpen management is that when players like Clippard get expensive is to find the next Clippard.

      • Doc - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:14 AM

        Agreed, sjm308

        The issue of ‘who’ we pay for ‘what’ in the bullpen is left over from some writer’s trite copy of a previous generation.

        Once you decide to pay Soriano $13 mm/yr. all bets are off. You go for what is the best out there, and pay the freight.

        Penny-wise and pound-foolish Rizzo may have a different take on the above. After all he did take Duke over Gorzo.

        In the goofy world of baseball economics, while Soriano is not 3X more valuable than Clip, but that’s the way it comes out.

        I hope Clip gets at least $8mm in arbitration. At this point, Clip is the most valuable guy in the pen.

      • Hiram Hover - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Yes, it’s the Lerners’ money, not mine, and yes, they’ve got plenty to spend.

        But people are worried because there is a limit to what they’re willing to spend, and money they spend on one thing doesnt get spent elsewhere. $10M+ is a lot for Drew and Clip.

    • scbilly - Oct 22, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      I’m no expert on arbitration, but is a 1.36 WHIP, 4.5 ERA, 3/5 save to blown save ratio and an earned midseason trip to the minors really a record that merits a raise from $2.5m a year? I don’t care about the money personally, but I assume the team does and that it has an effect on trade or keep decisions, which is part of what we’re discussing here.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        MLBTR supposes that Storen will earn a raise ($3.6 MM). they don’t give any reasons.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 22, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Reds go with their pitching coach over Riggleman.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Dodgers fire Sue Falsone!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      Her Tweeter makes it sound like she quit. Someone had to fall for the failures. Why not the head trainer.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        By the way, I say that with some sarcasm. She can’t be blamed for Greinke’s broken collar bone or Hanley’s cracked rib. Not sure about Kemp.

        What about Mattingly. He didn’t look too happy yesterday.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 22, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        saw the Mattingly news. does not look like he is going back. dodgers will of course try to make a splash.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    JD, thanks for pretty much reading my mind.

  8. tcostant - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Matt Williams is now the front runner:

    • Jw - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Any time there is more than one in-house candidate who supposedly has a shot, that greatly lessens the probability that the choice will be from in- house.

  9. jd - Oct 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    My gut feeling is that Rizzo was very unhappy about the way last year went down and in that respect I don’t think it’s likely that any of the in house candidates will ultimately land the manager’s job. I don’t really know much about Matt Williams but I hope he’s not in play just because he is a ball buster to counter act the laid back Davey Johnson. That formula can back fire very quickly (Bobby Valentine) if the manager doesn’t have the respect and the buy in of the players.

    I would much prefer a manager who is thoughtful, organized, consistent and has a working plan for the team (I am not saying Williams doesn’t).

  10. Section 222 - Oct 22, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Hard to believe, but the umpire crew chief for the World Series is John Hirschbeck!

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/10/22/world-series-umpires-announced/

  11. Section 222 - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Ok, too much time on my hands. But if you have time on yours, read this about the Pirates defensive transformation. It’s part shifts and part pitch location. Rizzo, if you’re reading, please, please, please, hire a new school analytics friendly manager.

    http://triblive.com/sports/pirates/4689239-74/pirates-defensive-season#axzz2iMassBiv

    • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      depends on if we have groundball pitchers. do we?

      • Section 222 - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        did you read the article? the idea is to encourage/require the pitchers to use their two seam fastballs more.

  12. sjm308 - Oct 22, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Thanks for the comments earlier and its nice to have people disagree with civility. Back to Storen, I agree with the first post here in that in my mind, Drew is our closer (again) after next year. While I like both Clip and Storen, I can see Clip being packaged in that he will never have as much value as he does right now. Storen is not going to be cheap but we do control his contracts for the next 3 seasons and again, its not my money and we appear to have plenty of room to increase our salary. I think we had the 12th highest last year and I expect us to be well into the top ten this year. People can use Tampa, Pittsburgh and Oakland as examples all they want. Give me Boston and the Yankees and now the Dodgers and I think for every year we miss the playoffs there will be four that we don’t.

  13. sjm308 - Oct 22, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Clarification, when I used those 3 teams, I don’t care for any of them but I do like that they are not afraid to spend money. New York has been foolish with their money and now has them in trouble but they are still significant in most pennant races. That is where I want to be, year in and year out.

  14. jd - Oct 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    sjm308,

    We are going to get to the level you speak of without spending foolishly on the bullpen. By the time we give JZim his long term deal, Stras his and then Desmond followed in a couple of years by Harper and Ramos will be pushing the luxury tax limit. losing Soriano will easily be eaten up by scheduled raises for Werth, Rzim and everyone else who is eligible for arbitration.

    • Jw - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      Holding onto established and productive bullpen pitchers like Clippard and Storen and continuing to pay them what they are due for that performance while they remain under team control is not “spending foolishly on the bullpen.”

      • sjm308 - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        agreed

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