Drew Storen's 2016 could serve as a case study in reliever volatility. A year after he saved 29 games for the Nationals and struck out 11.0 per nine innings, he was traded to Toronto, stumbled there and wound up in a less important role with Seattle. In the end, he lost 2.6 batters from his K/9 and absorbed almost a two-run increase to his ERA, while also turning formerly fleeting problems with flyballs into a significant flaw. While his hefty velocity drop may signal further danger, the home-run issue looks a bit inflated, although a big correction is difficult to expect with the move to Great American Ball Park in 2017. Even with all this working against the 29-year-old, it's too soon to write Storen off. After all, he will have a chance to compete for the primary closer role in spring training.
Storen's velocity has been down to 88-90 mph this spring from the 91.8 mph he averaged on fastballs last season, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He's given up nine runs and eight hits in 4.2 innings this spring. Storen is set to begin the season as a top setup man and could get a chance to save games if Raisel Iglesias' elbow and hip injuries keep him out for the start of the regular season. However, Storen's poor spring and drop in velocity are cause for concern.
The Reds would like to be able to employ a four-man rotation at closer this season, rather than use a traditional bullpen construction. Storen would be part of that mix. The Reds have the opportunity to experiment with their bullpen roles, in part because they are rebuilding, and because they don't have an established full-time closer. Storen has closing experience, but is coming off his worst season in the majors. In particular his home run rate spiked, and if that continues it'll be hard to earn the trust of Bryan Price in the ninth inning.
Storen signed a one-year contract with the Reds on Tuesday, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. The numbers for Storen between Toronto and Seattle last season leave much to be desired, but was able to land a major league deal from the pitching-needy Reds on the strength of his larger body of work. Storen has posted a 3.31 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 98 saves in parts of seven major league seasons. He saved 29 games for the Nationals in 2015 and figures to enter the back-end mix with Cincinnati, perhaps working as part of a closer committee alongside Raisel Iglesias and Tony Cingrani.
Storen (shoulder) was activated from the 15-day DL on Sunday, MLB.com's Greg Johns reports. Storen last appeared with the Mariners on Aug. 19 before shoulder inflammation set in. After coming over in a trade from the Blue Jays on July 26, Storen endured a rough debut with his new team, but pitched much better prior to landing on the DL, allowing just one earned run over his last nine innings. He'll likely work in middle relief now that he's healthy again.
Storen (shoulder) is expected to be activated off the disabled list Sunday, the Tacoma News Tribune reports. A sore shoulder sent Storen to the DL. He threw a scoreless inning Friday with Triple-A Tacoma and had no problems. The Mariners' bullpen has had trouble recently in the seventh and eighth innings, so there's a chance Storen could see higher leverage situations.