TORONTO- Last Friday, the Toronto Blue Jays acquired RHP Drew Storen and cash considerations from the Washington Nationals for speed outfielder Ben Revere. This is the first trade made by new general manager, Ross Atkins. By acquiring Storen, the defending AL East champs addressed a major need in their bullpen by providing more flexibility in their pitching.
Last season, Storen posted a 3.44 ERA with 29 saves for the Nationals. Though Storen has thrived in and out of the closer role over the course of six MLB seasons, the 2009 first-round pick has a career ERA of 3.02, nearly one strikeout per inning pitched and a fastball that averages 94 mph. However, Storen struggled after the Nationals acquired Jonathan Papelbon last summer with a 5.82 ERA.
With the addition of Storen, the Jays have the depth with young arms who can lock down the late innings including, Aaron Sanchez, Brett Cecil and Roberto Osuna. The trade could also provides the option to stretch out Sanchez or Osuna as starters to provide more depth in the rotation.
Revere was acquired by the Blue Jays prior to the deadline and was an exciting player to watch with his high energy and passion for the game. During Revere’s short era with the Blue Jays, the 27-year old played in 56 games with a .319 batting average while playing solid defense in left field. Revere show the ability to hit for contact and doesn’t strikeout a lot, but doesn’t draw enough walks or hit for power.
Overall, this is a great baseball trade for both teams. Nationals need a new center fielder with the loss of Denard Span, who signed with the San Francisco Giants. The Blue Jays bring in a veteran arm in the bullpen who can pitch late in innings.
The Blue Jays may have taking the same approach that the World Series Champs, Kansas City Royals had by building a strong bullpen. Within the AL East Division, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees build their relief core by adding Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman respectfully.
Many Blue Jays fans will be upset to see Revere gone, but the Jays do have a surplus of depth in the outfield with Jose Bautista in right and Kevin Pillar in centre. Look for Michael Saunders and Dalton Pompey to battle for the everyday role in left field. Saunders is expected to be fully healthy from a knee injury and 23-year old Dalton Pompey still has a lot of upside and could make an impact in the left field. Ezquiel Carrera and Junior Lake could fight for the 4th outfield role. Another name to look out for is Anthony Alford, who is the team’s top prospect.
The loss of Revere provides questions as to who will lead off for the Blue Jays. It is quite possible that Troy Tulowitzki could fill that spot or Devon Travis can hit at the top of the order when he comes back from an injury.
The acquisition of Storen is a good first move made by Atkins and he may not be done just yet. They can still look for more help within their pitching staff. Now that Atkins’ first major deal is complete, the next challenge will be putting the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle.