The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired relief pitcher Drew Storen from the Washington Nationals in exchange for speedy outfielder Ben Revere, as first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Washington will also receive a player to the named later and the team will send cash to Toronto to offset the difference between both players’ salaries, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 9, 2016
Revere, 27, will be a fine replacement for the recently departed Denard Span. A former teammate of Revere’s with the Minnesota Twins, Span signed with the San Francisco Giants just a few days ago, ending his three-year run in Washington.
Splitting time between the Philadelphia Phillies and Blue Jays last year, Revere hit a solid.306 with two HR and 45 RBI in 152 games.
While the.306 batting average tied Revere’s career-best total (set the year prior in 2014), he was a bit of a luxury to the Blue Jays’ squad. Oft-injured outfielder Michael Saunders is set to return from injury in 2016 and the team also has young talent such as Dalton Pompey and Kevin Pillar in the outfield mix, too.
Revere is not a power threat at all, as evidenced by his four career HR. Also, FanGraphs rates Revere a poor defender, despite his speed. However, he provides the Nationals with a speedy, prototypical leadoff hitter to insert into their lineup. He is a perennial 30+ stolen bases threat, having stolen as many as 49 bases in one season (2014).
In addition to his speed, Revere can help the Nationals’ current outfield, likely spelling the veteran Jayson Werth on occasion. The Nationals also have youngster Michael A. Taylor in the fold, giving the team an adequate selection of outfielders.
Therefore, the Blue Jays used their surplus of outfielders to address a need of their own.
In the 28-year-old Storen, the Blue Jays acquire a pitcher with sufficient experience as both a set-up man and closer. While he’s struggled at the times — including blowing some big playoff games for the Nats, per Yahoo Sports — Storen has generally been a solid option out of the bullpen.
Despite the flashes of inconsistency, Storen was solid as the closer and finished with solid numbers. Through 58 games in 2015, Storen notched 29 saves through 55 innings of work. But the team felt the need to acquire Papelbon, an experienced closer with a 2007 World Series Championship ring to his credit.
Storen spoke to ESPN after the trade went down, not vocalizing displeasure but not sounding completely on board with the move, either.
“All I’m going to say is that I’m aware of the move, and I’ve talked to Mike about it and talked to my agent and we’ve had some ongoing discussions, and until those have progressed, I’m going to leave it at that and no comment for now,” Storen told ESPN. “As the situation goes, I’ll keep you guys posted.”
Papelbon struggled with the Nationals, seeing his ERA rise from 1.59 with the Phillies to 3.04 in 22 games for the Nats. Papelbon finished 2015 with a 2.13 ERA with 24 saves in 63-and-one-third innings.
— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) January 5, 2016
It wasn’t the first time Storen was displaced from the closer’s role as the team previously signed Rafael Soriano to be the team’s 9th inning option prior to the 2013 season. The relationship between Storen — a closer who once saved 43 games in 2011 — and the Nats became an obvious issue, leading many to believe his time in our nation’s capital was up.
With the Blue Jays, Storen could conceivably either take over the closer’s role or be the set-up man to Robert Osuna. Either way, Storen has shown the ability to be dominant.
Now, Papelbon is undoubtedly the Nats’ closer heading into 2016 as the sometimes volatile closer tries to co-exist with his teammates.
[Featured Image by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images]