Drew Storen enters 2016 as the majors' most obvious closer-in-waiting. He should really be a closer in practice, but the Nationals preferred to stir up controversy last July by acquiring the unpopular Jonathan Papelbon and then traded Storen this offseason to the Blue Jays, a team that already has a closer. Storen's final numbers don't tell the story because he clearly didn't take well to his demotion to the setup role, but he was one of the top closers in baseball at the time of the Papelbon trade, having compiled a 1.73 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 38 appearances. If the Blue Jays decide to go another direction with Roberto Osuna this spring, moving him to the starting rotation, Storen will become a top-15 reliever in Fantasy, but for now, he's outside the top 40.
Storen agreed to a one-year, $8.375 million deal with the Blue Jays on Friday, avoiding arbitration, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports. Saves pay, and Storen has 95 saves over the past six seasons to go with a 3.02 ERA over that span. He figures to handle the ninth inning duties for the Blue Jays in 2016, making him one of the top-15 closers to target in drafts this year.
The Nationals traded Storen to the Blue Jays on Friday in exchange for Ben Revere, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. The Nationals have reportedly been looking for a trade partner for Storen, and they finally found one in the Blue Jays, who were willing to part with one of their regular outfielders. Storen's numbers at the end of the 2015 season don't look as good as those as the ones he posted the previous year, but he dominated in the closer's role before the Nationals decided to acquire Jonathan Papelbon in late July. Roberto Osuna performed well in the closer's role last year for the Blue Jays, but Storen now seems like the favorite to fill the role for the club when the 2016 season begins.
The Nationals plan to actively shop Storen at the winter meetings, the team's website reports. The Astros are thought to be interested, but Storen could attract a lot of attention as he heads into his final year of arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon's lawsuit against the club for the four days worth of salary he lost when suspended at the end of last season could affect how willing the Nats are to shop Storen, however.
Storen was tendered a contract Wednesday by the Nationals. Overall, Storen had a very solid season for Washington in 2015, even though it ended early because of a broken thumb sustained through frustration after a poor pitching performance. He saved 29 games in his 55 innings pitched behind a 3.44 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.
Nationals reliever Drew Storen has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture in his right thumb. Storen suffered the injury when he slammed his locker shut after allowing a key home run in a loss to the Mets on Wednesday. Storen is unlikely to return this season. If indeed his season his done, Storen will finish 2015 with 29 saves and a 3.44 ERA in 58 appearances. His season went in a downward spiral once he was bumped from the closer's role following the team's acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon at the July 31 trade deadline. Storen will visit a hand specialist to determine the severity of the injury.