(Editor’s note: sorry for the delay on this post: you might have noticed the site being unavailable for a bit of time yesterday. That’s because the shared server hosting all my various business and personal websites crashed and was down for hours. Hopefully we’re all back up and normal. This post is written and posted as of 1/10/16).
Drew Storen got his wish today; a fresh start with another team. And amazingly, Mike Rizzo was able to turn an asset that basically the entire industry knew he was shopping (and knew that the player wanted out) and was able to basically get the *exact* player he was seeking in Ben Revere; a capable hitter who fits precisely into the hole left by the departed Denard Span. Lefty, center fielder, lead-off hitter, good stats.
Amazing trade, frankly, by Rizzo, given these circumstances.
The Nats hadn’t consummated a trade with Toronto since 2005 (and that was a two minor leaguers swapping deck chairs kind of a deal in Tyrell Goodwin for Aaron Wideman). Clearly Rizzo has a better working relationship with the new brain trust in Toronto (former Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro) than he did before (Alex Anthopoulos).
For Storen; he gets out of town and gets a chance at a fresh start for a team that won its division last year and still sports the best offense in the game. He’s gotta be happy. I’m not sure he is the closer in Toronto (Robert Osuna was pretty good: 20 saves, 2.58 ERA, 153 ERA+, sub 1.00 whip but is also just 20); maybe there’s a ST competition, maybe Storen just accepted the deal and the 8th inning to get a fresh start. Can’t blame him.
For the Nats, they get basically the #1 priority they’ve been seeking all off-season. And they get it without committing to major dollars in the future, without giving up a draft pick, and without trading any of their prospects. In this respect, A+ trade for Rizzo. Revere had a good lead-off hitter slash line last year (.306/.342/.377), hits lefty to help with lineup balance, and plays a position of need (CF). I’m not sure he’s the super duper awesome CF that the team sought (a good looking uzr/150 in 2015 but negative defensive figures the three previous years in Philly), but he’s always been awesome in RF so maybe we’re looking at Harper in CF and Revere in RF as a optimized defensive alignment. (Oh who am I kidding? Do you think Dusty Baker is looking at fangraphs and seeing massive negative DRS figures for Revere and going, ‘gee he should play RF?’)
The Nats also save some cash (Revere makes a bit less than Storen in terms of projected Arb salaries), AND the Nats get a PTBNL (probably a low-level prospect). We sent some unreported amount of cash to Toronto; probably a few hundred thousand or so to balance out the salary delta. I love it when billion dollar assets send piddling amounts of cash in deals; can you imagine the negotiations? “Hey Mike, I need $100k to make this deal work.” “Oh ok Mark, lemme dig into my car cushion and see what i’ve got here that fell out of my pocket during my last arbitration negotiation … oh! here’s $200k. Sold!”
New projected opening day 2016 lineup:
- Revere*, Rendon, Harper*, Zimmerman, Murphy*, Werth, Espinosa*, Ramos, pitcher.
Perfect lefty/righty balance. If you think Espinosa is super-sub and Drew is the starter at short, replace like for like since Drew is a lefty hitter. If you think Turner is the starter … you’re crazy to think that given the moves this team has made in the past few weeks
Other downstream effects of this deal:
- If we didn’t have confirmation before, i’ll say it again: i just can’t see how Trea Turner makes the 25-man roster. This was more about the Drew acquisition than this, but I don’t see how he makes this team unless someone gets hurt in Viera.
- The 5-man bench looks pretty much complete: backup C (Lobaton unless otherwise replaced), RH pinch hitter/corner player (Moore), LH pinch hitter/
corner player (Robinson), speedy backup OF who can play CF as needed (Taylor), and utility infielder (Drew or Espinosa).
- Matt den Dekker now gets pushed to AAA; i can’t see him beating Clint Robinson for “lefty PH bat” and Moore is now basically the only RH bat on the bench so gets to stick around another year.
- Taylor now is back to being 4th OF, right where he was last year. But don’t worry; Werth probably gets a hangnail on April 10th and Taylor will still get 300-400 ABs in 2016.
- Not a ton of salary difference with the move; Storen and Rivera were projected by mlbtraderumores to make 8.8 and 6.7M respectively. I had Storen’s projected salary a bit less. In total, I’ve got the 2016 projected payroll at $143M now, still $18M less than last year.
- Treinen now is back in the projected MLB bullpen; I think he was last guy out given the acquisitions and make up of the roles prior to Storen’s jettison.
- Papelbon now probably stays; i’d be shocked if he gets moved now, given his NT clause and his toxicity around the league. And, well, the team still needs a frigging closer. Ironic that they “had” to move their home grown 1st rounder (who happened to also be the union rep) so that they could keep the former star of their divisinoal rival who also just happened to choke the unanimous league MVP on national TV. But that’s the bed they’ve made for themselves.
One last thing: The bullpen makeover now seems complete. Check out how the 2016 projected opening day pen looks compared to years past:
o 2016: Papelbon, Treinen, Gatt, Kelley, Perez*, Rivero*, Petit (Barret on D/L)
o 2015: Storen, Treinen, Barrett, Stammen, Thornton*, Cedeno*, Roark (Janssen on d/l)
o 2014: Soriano, Storen, Clippard, Barrett, Stammen, Blevins*, Detwiler*
o 2013: Soriano, Storen, Clippard, Mattheus, Stammen, Rodriguez, Duke*
o 2012: Clippard, Lidge, Mattheus, Stammen, Rodriguez, Burnett*, Gorzelanny*
o 2011: Storen, Clippard, Coffey, Gaudin, Burnett*, Slaten*, Broderick
o 2010: Capps, Clippard, Bruney, English, Bergmann, Burnett*, Walker*, Batista (yes it was an 8-man pen)
100% turnover from 2015’s opening day rotation, man for man (if Janssen had been healthy, Treinen would have been in AAA). I know it needed to be done, but i’m still apprehensive about it from a cohesion perspective.
In summary; good trade for both sides. Sorry to see Storen go but it had to be done for both the player and the team. I think the Nats are better today than they were yesterday; not because Revere > Storen necessarily (by bWAR they are but that’s probably not a fair comparison) but because Storen wasn’t going to be the best he could be here any longer.