Storen was rocked Wednesday, surrendering four runs over 1.1 innings in his debut for the Mariners. After being traded for Tuesday, Storen was quickly put to use by his new club, entering the game in the sixth inning down 3-0, and trying to keep things close. He succeeded in the sixth but was shelled in the seventh, raising his ERA to an astonishing 7.01 on the season. The Mariners took a chance that Storen would pitch better in a different environment, and after just one day that chance already looks questionable. While it's better than being designated for assignment as he was with his old club, Storen is far from seeing any high-pressure situations with the Mariners, and has value only in very deep leagues.
Storen was traded to the Mariners on Tuesday, along with cash considerations, in exchange for Joaquin Benoit. He had just been designated for assignment by the Blue Jays a couple days earlier, and the Mariners apparently wanted to see if they could help salvage his season. His velocity has been down a couple ticks, from an average fastball of 94.1 mph last season to 92.5 mph this season. He is unlikely to regain his prior form in just a two month span with a new team, but even if he does, he will be behind Steve Cishek and Edwin Diaz in the pecking order for late-inning work.
The Blue Jays designated Storen for assignment Sunday, Barry Davis of Sportsnet reports. It's been a stunning fall from grace for Storen, who was acquired by the Blue Jays in January with the hope that he'd challenge for the closing role. After losing out on that gig to Roberto Osuna in spring training, Storen has since toiled in middle relief, amassing 6.21 ERA and 1.59 WHIP over 33.1 innings. After the veteran served up three runs in his lone frame Saturday against the Mariners, the Blue Jays determined that they had seen enough. Based on his previous track record, Storen could attract interest from other teams via trade or waivers as a reclamation project, but it's unlikely that he'll be in the mix for saves no matter where he ultimately lands.
At the halfway point of his first season in Toronto, Storen has a 5.63 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 36 appearances (32 innings). To say Storen's first half was a disappointment would be an understatement. Having notched nearly 100 saves in six seasons with Washington -- including 43 in 2011 and 29 a year ago -- there were whispers during spring training that Storen could possibly replace Roberto Osuna as the Jays closer by this point in the season. Aside from Osuna converting 90 percent of his chances, Storen has posted some of the worst numbers of his career that include a 4.61 FIP, 1.41 HR/9 and a lackluster 92 mph fastball. At this point, he has little to no chance of being the team's closer during 2016. Toronto's front office confirmed this when they acquire Jason Grilli from the Braves at the end of May. Grilli immediately became what Storen was supposed to be -- the team's reliable setup man, and next-in-line for the closer's role should Osuna falter. Moving forward, Storen's value is limited in most formats.
Storen suffered his first blown save, and third loss, in Monday's game against the Rockies. He managed to record just one out while giving up four runs on two hits. Storen had been on a nice roll for most of June, but any momentum gained after a slow start to the season came to a halt Monday night. The first-year Blue Jay was called upon to protect a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning. Five batters later, with the lone out coming via a sacrifice bunt, Storen was sent to the showers and Toronto was on its way to a series-opening loss. Storen and right-hander Jesse Chavez combined to allow six runs on five hits, a walk and two hit batters. The six runs were the most Toronto has surrendered in any inning this season, and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons finds himself going back to the drawing board when it comes to late-inning relief.