The Houston Astros are looking at Drew Storen as a backup option as closer.
Name a closer that could be available in a trade this offseason, and the Astros are going to get linked to that pitcher. The names Aroldis Chapman, Ken Giles, Jake McGee, and Brad Boxberger keep on drawing interest. The Astros had an epic blowup in the bullpen during game four of the ALDS in 2015; they were six outs away from advancing to the ALCS when everything fell apart. Would adding a flame-thrower to the back at the bullpen help stabilize the rest of the pen?
One name that had not received much discussion this offseason has been Nationals setup man Drew Storen. I know what you are thinking, set up guy, we want a closer. He was the closer for the Nats before they decided to trade for the dumpster fire Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline. Storen was not the same after that decision and looks to be wanting out of Washington. The Nationals are looking to move Papelbon as well, but most likely they will not get many takers.
Storen had a bounce back 2014 after dealing with injuries that set his career back. In 2014, Storen’s stats were 1.12 ERA/ 11 saves/ 58 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings according to Baseball-Reference. At the start of 2015, Storen was the named the closer and was doing really good in the first part of the season. However, his second half of the season was not as dominating.
Let’s take a look at the tales of Drew Storen’s 2015 season. (Stats from Baseball-Reference)
The stats don’t lie; there was a problem once Storen was removed from the closers role. I’m not saying that he was a baby and shut down, but if you are moved out of a particular role despite you performing well, it’s hard to handle that sometimes. It makes you feel like the team did not trust you; then you could stop trusting your stuff. I’m sure there is some psychology study out there to prove this.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Jerry Crasnick at ESPN said that the Astros are in discussion with the Nationals about Storen should they not land one of the big guys. What I don’t understand is why he is a backup plan and not a primary target? Like Chapman, he is a free-agent following the 2016 season so that he would be a rental. However, he might be easier to re-sign than Chapman, who will be looking for the mega bucks. Yes, Storen did fall apart in the second half of the season, but looking at how the year played out in Washington, the cause for his struggles is fairly obvious.
A Storen package would be preferable because Luhnow would not be having to overpay for a player because of his past dealings with Walt Jocketty. Jocketty and the Reds know that Chapman is the best closer out there, so they will drive up the cost by having teams compete with others. Whoever trades for Chapman will have to give up the largest package, look at what the RedSox gave for Craig Kimbrel.
Just for fun a fake conversation between Luhnow and Jocketty at the trade deadline: Faux Astros trade discussion between Luhnow and Reds’ Jocketty.
I say forget Chapman and focus of Giles and Storen. If you get Giles, at least you are giving up the prospects for the team control and not the 100 mph fastball that Chapman can throw. Apparently the Cubs are in talks of a trade to acquire a top closer, will they help us make the decision by taking Chapman?