In the span of nearly four months, the Toronto Blue Jays have reconstructed their team through a litany of moves to remain in contention for the AL East title this year. The best of them all however has to be the acquisition of Drew Storen.
In case you just came out from hibernation, the newly minted Jays front office dealt former left-fielder Ben Revere in exchange for reliever Drew Storen of the Washington Nationals.
To start with, this deal has to be regarded as the best move because it dealt from a position of strength. Prior to the trade, the Jays had a bundle of outfield options that they couldn't all employ. Revere was coming off an impressive finish and playoff performance, Michael Saunders was scheduled to return, Dalton Pompey was better at baseball, Jose Bautista has been called the heart-and-soul of Toronto and Kevin Pillar has been christened with the nickname Superman. If the Jays were going to make a deal, the outfield would be the the area where losing a piece wouldn't affect the whole puzzle.
A second point is that, with this move, it allows for a number of other moves to be made in spring training and beyond. Prior to acquiring Storen, it was most likely that the Jays would continue to employ their duo of young-hurlers in the 8th and 9th innings of close games with Roberto Osuna getting the 9th and Sanchez the 8th.
However, with the acquisition of Storen, this facilitates a big change for each reliever. First, with Storen having the ability to close games, that frees up Osuna to be used for multi-inning reliever or other high-leverage situations. Obviously, the merits of this idea would allow Osuna to bridge the gap between reliever and starter in 2016, throwing more innings in hopes of joining the rotation in 2017 or beyond.
Second, with Osuna moving into a more set-up role and Brett Cecil backing him, the door is open for the muscled up Sanchez to enter the starting rotation. This is an idea that Sanchez and best-friend Marcus Stroman have been openly vocal about this season and was something Sanchez showed some aptitude for doing last season, producing a 3.55 ERA in 66 innings pitched. Moving Sanchez to the rotation will provide him more time to hone in on his fastball command and show the Jays exactly what they have in the young arm for the future.
Addressing what the Jays lost in Revere, this move additionally opens the door for youngster Dalton Pompey to make an impression as an everyday regular this season. Pompey proved his worth on the base paths last season and the playoffs and will be looking to build on that, donning the new number 23 this season.
Even if it isn't Pompey in Revere's former left-field this season, it will likely be Michael Saunders, meaning that the Jays won't have to be paying Saunders his $2.9 million salary to essentially be the fourth outfielder if Revere had stayed with the club.
Conceivably, this move will be regarded as the top move because, really, there was a lack of any major deals this off-season. Sure the Jays added J.A Happ and re-signed Marco Estrada but both were marginal moves that won't massively change the outlook of this team positively or negatively.
Essentially, this transaction is remarkable because it employs the best use of the 25-man roster possible, which should be the goal of any front office. Finding a way to make sure everyone on the roster can be used without overlap or demotion of useful assets has certainly been one of the benefits the Shapiro administration has drawn on thus far.
In the acquisition of Drew Storen, the Blue Jays got a lot more than a closer.They unleashed a deeper, more complete and unified roster for 2016.