The pernicious Blue Jays bullpen has garnered a boost at the expense of their one-time table-setter. Toronto shipped left fielder Ben Revere to Washington in exchange for right-handed reliever Drew Storen, no money was retained on either side.
Storen spent the first six years of his big league career with the Nationals, pitching a minimum of 50 innings out of the bullpen in five of those campaigns. The 28-year old had an untenable 2015 season coming off of a 2014 campaign that saw him put up a redoubtable 1.12 ERA, however his FIP was 2.71. The proceeding season was insatiable, at least from the Nationals’ point of view, and his ERA was up at 3.44, however his FIP was only .08 points higher than the year before. The one-time National closer was catapulted out of the role he immersed himself in for the first time since 2011, as the team’s closer. 2015 wasn’t completely nugatory for the righty due to the facts he recorded his highest strikeout per nine ratio of his career at an even 11 and only saw his hits per nine go up by 0.4.
Following a vexing start to his short-lived Blue Jay career, Ben Revere turned it on and finished the season at over .300, this being the third straight season he has done so. The 27-year old will be heading back to the National League East, a place were he spent the previous two and a half seasons as a member of the Phillies prior to being dealt to the place people douchily refer to as “The Six”. Very much non coextensive to Storen, Revere’s place insidiously rose as 2015 proceeded, recording his second straight 180+ hit season. After a pair of 40+ stolen base seasons, and was on pace for another prior to injury, the 5-foot-9-inch outfielder’s propensity to run was trumped by the arrogation of the major bats behind him in the lineup, stealing only seven in 56 games in Toronto. Contrary to popular belief, Revere wasn’t necessarily a benefit to have in your outfield. He had a -0.6 Defensive WAR last season in Canada, which wasn’t a sole conspicuously negative defensive season, he’s had a negative dWAR five out of his six seasons in the MLB.
With the egress of Denard Span via signing a three-year, $31 million contract in San Francisco, many were perplexed by the decision by the Nationals. Michael Taylor, whom the team was said to very much like, is now all but relegated to either a competition with Revere for the starting job, a platoon or a secondary role. With Harper in right and Werth in left, the center field job is very much there for the taking come spring training. The Nationals parlayed an asset they deemed extraneous with the young bullpen arms they have, in Treinen and Barrett among others, into an ostentatiously valuable player that will push one of their young players.
The opulence of having Revere in the Jays outfield was very much that, opulence. In making this transaction, they addressed a desperate need within the organization. It puts a little cocking on a massive gap of a Toronto bullpen that might have Pat Venditte in it come the regular season. The move also triggers a battle in spring training between Dalton Pompey and Michael Saunders for the final outfield position. Pompey, who made the team out of spring training last season, faltered mightily once the 2015 campaign began and was subsequently in AAA for the majority of the season. Saunders on the other hand didn’t see more than 36 plate appearances, after coming to Toronto in the deal that saw current Jay J.A. Happ go to Seattle, before going down for the year due to an, obviously, severe knee injury.