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Storen brushes aside trade rumors

Jan 26, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT

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Trade rumors are nothing new for Drew Storen, so when a new round of speculation surfaced this winter, the Nationals reliever didn’t worry about it.

“No, I didn’t,” he said Saturday at NatsFest. “It’s part of the business. You read it and … eh, whatever happens. You never really know the full story. It’s kind of funny. Once I dealt with it the first time in 2011, it just kind of rolls off.”

Storen has been hearing his name attached to trade rumors since July 2011, when the Nationals were in serious talks with the Twins about a deal that would have sent Storen to Minnesota and brought Denard Span to Washington. That transaction, of course, never happened, and Span wound up coming to the Nationals last winter in a trade for prospect Alex Meyer instead.

Since then, the right-hander’s name has come up several more times, including this offseason. When word of the Nationals’ December trade for Doug Fister began to surface, speculation immediately focused on Storen as a potential return for the Tigers. (The Nats ultimately sent Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol and Robbie Ray to Detroit.)

Then came last week’s revelation that the Nationals were engaged in talks with free agent reliever Grant Balfour, which prompted more speculation Storen would be prime trade bait if the signing happened. Balfour wound up signing with the Rays.

General manager Mike Rizzo said Saturday he’s not looking at any more prominent relievers, and he’s also not initiating any trade talks with other clubs. So Storen has no reason to believe he won’t be reporting to Viera with the rest of his teammates in 18 days for the start of his fifth spring training with the Nationals.

In the meantime, he’s focused on picking up where he left off at the end of 2013. A tumultuous season saw Storen lose his closer’s job to Rafael Soriano, then get demoted to Class AAA Syracuse after posting a 5.95 ERA in 47 appearances. Once he returned to the big leagues in August, Storen was highly effective, with a 1.40 ERA in 21 games.

Storen’s strong finish coincided with the Nationals’ overall strong finish, something that left a much better taste in his mouth when he departed for the winter.

“It’s huge,” he said. “Whether on a personal level or a team level, any time you face adversity it’s about getting your head above water. The direction we were headed at the end of the season, that really helps us to build on this year. Last year we could’ve mailed it in and really felt sorry for ourselves. But we fought, we came through it on the other side, and I think that’s going to be huge for us.”

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 26, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Putting aside any and all comment on his skills, I think the only real question here is whether Drew Storen will be traded (a) before the 2014 regular season begins; (b) before the July 31 trade deadline; or (c) before the 2015 regular season begins. For whatever reason(s), I just don’t expect Nats management to keep him around as the post-Rafael Soriano closer.

    • unkyd59 - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      I keep hearing that, and I just don’t get it….

    • sjm308 - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:59 PM

      While you may be correct, I have always thought that Drew would be our closer as soon as Soriano is gone and I realize there are pluses and minuses with almost all closers. I just think with his age and his talent it would be fun to have Drew here for a long long time.

  2. unkyd59 - Jan 26, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Rizzo used the 10th overall pick on Storen. I can’t see him moving the lad, unless similar booty is offered… Rizzo likes “his guys”… Some call him stubborn…perhaps… Maybe he just trusts his own judgement. I think Drew will either bring an impressive haul, or be here for a long time.

  3. David Proctor - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    If Storen has a good year, he’ll have trade value. He had lots of interest this offseason even, but obviously Rizzo did not want to sell low. If he has a good year and confirms that 2013 was an aberration, we should be able to get plenty for him. Remember Matt Capps?

  4. micksback1 - Jan 26, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    my gut tells me that Nats may deal Clip mid season if Drew is on. I hope not, but, if Clip is at his 2013 best, Nats could get the better of any deal long term by a trade.

    • therealjohnc - Jan 26, 2014 at 8:30 PM

      Except that the Nats’ primary focus isn’t long term, it’s winning now (without spiking the long term). If Clip is at his 2013 best and Storen is on, then the Nats have a bullpen that could carry them into the postseason for a decent run. Why weaken that for a prospect?

      Now, if you could package Storen and Jordan Zimmerman as part of a trade for Paul Goldschmidt – SURE! But that’s unlikely (if the Diamondbacks are paying attention, anyway). Otherwise, leave the bullpen alone. Sure, they’re pricey, but for now the Nats can afford it – and they have things to do this year.

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Teams rarely trade for closers. Closers arrive via FA or internal development. Hence, the Nat only trade Storen if (A) Sorianno’s 2015 option vests; (B) the selling price of closers on the FA market price falls to something considerably less than the current $20-$30MM per pound; (C) someone already in the organization appears ready to inherit the job. You see anyone in the organization (other than Sorianno) who seems ready for the job? Me neither.

    • Jw - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      Clippard. He also happens to be under team control through 2015.

    • veejh - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:24 AM

      Capps for Ramos. False. Teams trade for closers when their closer svcks. Not that rare.

    • veejh - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:29 AM

      Storen can handle it, and he’s gonna prove it this season. 1.4 ERA after his AAA callup. I got faith. That slider wasnt sliding when he floundered after the 2012 game 5 debacle. Slider slides, Storen is killer.

  6. natszee - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Anyone else notice that Drew looked like put on a few pounds? I looked at some of my photo’s and I’ll be darned, he has a double chin now!

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