How the Ben Revere For Drew Storen Deal Affects the Nationals and Blue Jays
The Washington Nationals have traded one of their late-inning relief pitchers.
No, not the one who nearly choked his teammate unconscious, the other guy. You know, the one who was doing really, really well until he was replaced by the guy who almost choked one of his teammates unconscious.
Implications for Toronto
For Toronto, they get a relief pitcher who went 2-2 with a 3.44 ERA and a Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 2.79 last season. Over his career, he's averaged 8.65 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) while walking 2.59 (BB/9). Last year, his strikeouts per nine innings was the best of his career (10.96). He throws hard, averaging 94.0 miles per hour on his fastball according to Fangraphs, and features a terrific slider to go along with it.
However, his end-of-season numbers are skewed quite a bit. As Washington's closer, before the trade for Jonathan Papelbon, Storen had a 1.73 ERA and a 1.98 FIP in 36.1 innings before the deal with Philadelphia. After Papelbon's arrival, when he was sent to the horrors of eighth inning set-up duty, he had an ERA of 6.75 and a FIP of 4.37.
For whatever reason, pitching in the eighth inning as opposed to the ninth inning proved to be quite an issue for the right-hander. His ERA in the eighth inning this year was 6.02, and his ERA in non-save situations was 6.00. However, in 35 ninth-inning appearances, his ERA was 1.62.
His season ended prematurely in early September when, after the last game of a crucial sweep against the Mets, he injured his thumb slamming his locker shut. And in Toronto, there is no guarantee that he will be their closer, either. The Blue Jays already have Roberto Osuna, who had a tremendous rookie season with 20 saves and a 9.7 strikeout-per-nine rate.
It's probable that getting moved to the set-up role after having so much success closing last year messed with Storen's head. After all, it's doubtful he's simply allergic to the eighth inning.
Clearly, the Blue Jays felt they needed to do something in order to keep up with the late-inning 'pen some of their division rivals have put together.
The Yankees' trio of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances is downright terrifying, Boston's acquisition of Craig Kimbrel gives them a dangerous arm to pair with Koji Uehara, and Baltimore has an outstanding set of relievers as well, with closer Zach Britton, Darren O'Day, and former starter Brian Matusz.
And that doesn't even take into account the dominant bullpens the Kansas City Royals still have the the one the Houston Astros have put together with the addition of Ken Giles.
Storen also has a checkered postseason history, with two rather notable blown saves on his record, but Toronto is certainly willing to jump off that bridge if they get to it.
Implications for Washington
As for Washington, they acquired Revere, who should ably replace the departed Denard Span, who signed with San Francisco last week.
Revere isn't as dynamic a player as his former Minnesota teammate, but there are a few things he does very, very well. The guy can get his base hits, leading the National League with 184 in 2014 and adding another 181 last season. He's hit .300 in each of the last three years, putting up a batting average of .305, .306 and .306 over that span.
He had a career best .342 on-base percentage last year between Philadelphia and Toronto, and with the Jays, he was particularly effective at the bottom of the lineup, hitting .319/.354/.381 for a .734 OPS.
He's also a base stealer, having stolen at least 31 bases in four out of the last five years. The only season in which he didn't steal at least 30 was in 2013, his first season with the Phillies, when he was limited to just 88 games and still stole 22.
He's also a decent corner outfielder, using his speed to track down fly balls primarily in left. He can also play center field, although that is a position that is more problematic for him. He doesn't run great routes in center, and his throwing arm is among the worst in baseball.
Clearly, Washington also wanted Revere seeing as how the outfielder has killed them with the long ball over the years, having hit half of his career homers against the Nationals.
Yup. Two of his four career dingers have come against the Nats. Enough already!
It will be interesting to see how the Nats use Revere. Of course, Bryce Harper has right field taken care of, and provided he's healthy (which is never a guarantee anymore), Jayson Werth will probably play a lot of left field. That leaves Revere and Michael Taylor to likely share the center field duties, perhaps as a platoon.
Taylor, a right-handed hitter, batted .229/.282/.358 in 511 plate appearances last year for Washington and showed no real difference in his performance against righties or lefties. Revere, meanwhile, had better numbers against right-handers (.318/.349/.398) than he did against left-handers (.271/.321/.316) last season, but he actually holds his own well against lefties.
Nevertheless, the Nats get a relatively cheap, two-to-three-win player who can become a free agent after the season but will only cost his team about $7 or 8 million this year (he's in his second year of arbitration and made $4.1 million last year). Toronto gets an effective late-inning reliever who will hopefully blossom with a consistent role in 2016.
And the Nationals still have the guy who choked the team's star player to close out games for them.
So there's that.