According to multiple sources, the Reds have signed former Nationals reliever Drew Storen to a one year, $3 million deal. The contract also includes incentives that could raise the value by another $1.5 million, and a transaction clause that would give him a $500,000 bonus if he’s traded.
It’s been a precipitous fall for Storen, who had been a mainstay in the Washington bullpen, and was the team’s closer until being ousted by Rafael Soriano and Jonathan Papelbon in 2014 and 2015. He understandably balked both times he was replaced, after having success in the role.
Storen was dealt to the Blue Jays last offseason for Ben Revere, but struggled for the Jays with reduced velocity in a setup role and was designated for assignment in July. The Jays traded him to the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit. He went on the DL with a sore shoulder in August, but returned to pitch well down the stretch in September.
If he’s healthy, the Reds got themselves an above average reliever who can probably still close at a fraction of the usual cost. That’s what Storen would prefer, telling reporters,
Storen says 'if you're in the bullpen and don't want to close, you have no business being down there'— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) January 3, 2017
But, he was quick to add,
Storen on closing: 'I'm not paid to make those decisions, I'm paid to get outs'— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) January 3, 2017
The Reds had a number of options for the end of games even before Storen was in the mix. Tony Cingrani saved 17 games, but blew six opportunities and lost his job at the end of the year. Raisel Iglesias finished the season in the role and Michael Lorenzen could also get a look in Spring Training. But if Storen is back to his old self, one would presume the Reds will showcase him for a club looking to upgrade at the trade deadline. If not, it’s a very low-risk deal for a guy who grew up two hours outside of Cincinnati.