As the Blue Jays are "making progress" on acquiring several players, one name to keep an eye on is Drew Storen of the Washington Nationals. Hundreds of ideas are thrown around here at Bluebird Banter, but numerous contributors could be onto something here. It would not surprise me if Storen is traded to the Blue Jays in the very near future.
Storen's name has popped up in trade speculation throughout the Winter Meetings, as Bill Ladson of MLB.com reported that the team is trying to trade both him and Jonathan Papelbon. The Blue Jays surely have some level of interest, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports the team has casted a wide net in search of relief pitching, including top free agents.
At this point of the offseason, very few late inning relievers are still available. Pitchers such as Ryan Madson and Jonathan Broxton are now off the market. Committing to a reliever for multiple years can be a dangerous strategy, which makes a one-year commitment to Storen extremely appealing. Mark Shapiro clearly agrees with this line of thought, as he recently told Scott MacArthur of TSN, "the number of relievers who maintain consistency year to year, it's such a tough market to wade into." It has also been reported that the Blue Jays are searching for relievers with closing experience, which leads me to believe Storen is a top target.
Another key point of interest is that the Nationals are currently searching for a left-handed bat. Looking at their lineup, the team looks poised to upgrade at second base and centre field. It just so happens that the Blue Jays have a surplus in the outfield, and could offer left-handed hitting outfielder Ben Revere in return. The projected salaries of Revere and Storen are just $2.1 million apart, providing the two teams with a very strong fit.
The Nationals former left-handed leadoff hitter, Denard Span, is now a free agent. After signing numerous free agent relievers, Washington now has a surplus of bullpen arms including: Jonathan Papelbon, Oliver Perez, Shawn Kelley, Yusmeiro Petit, Trevor Gott, and Blake Treinen, among others. It seems very possible that the Nationals would deal from this bullpen surplus to fill a hole in the outfield. Due to Revere's low walk rate, I do not believe many analytically savvy front offices would pay a haul to acquire the 27-year old outfielder. If there is an opposing team that will over value Revere, it could very well be the organization that has hired Matt Williams and Dusty Baker in recent seasons.
Storen, 28, has been successful at keeping the ball in the park over his career, which would play favourably in the homer-friendly Rogers Centre. He is just one season removed from posting a 1.12 ERA, and more advanced statistics such as FIP and SIERA have rated him favourably over the past two seasons. As the Blue Jays continue to make progress with upgrading the roster, be sure to keep a close eye on Drew Storen. He could very well be a Blue Jay in 2016.