The Nationals and Blue Jays made a trade late on Friday night, with the Jays sending outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named later to the nation’s capital in exchange for reliever Drew Storen and cash.
The trade doesn’t come as any surprise. Storen needed a change of scenery as his last three seasons with the Nationals have been tumultuous. After struggling during the 2013 regular season, he allowed four runs in the ninth inning of NLDS Game 5 in 2013 against the Cardinals, resulting in the Nationals’ ouster from the playoffs. Storen then had an outstanding year in 2014 and followed it up with four strong months this past season. Near the end of July, the Nationals acquired closer Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies, pushing Storen from the ninth to the eighth inning. Storen’s splits before and after the trade are stark:
- Before Papelbon: 36.1 IP, 1.73 ERA, 44 K, 9 BB, 1 HR
- After Papelbon: 18.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 23 K, 7 BB, 3 HR
Correlation isn't causation, of course, but the right-hander didn't seem too pleased about the Papelbon addition at the time. Storen allowed runs in back-to-back games against the Mets on September 8 and 9. After the latter game, the right-hander slammed his locker in anger and broke his thumb, ending his season.
Storen, 28, is entering his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $5.7 million in 2015. The Blue Jays haven’t decided if Storen will close or if Osuna will maintain his handle on the ninth inning. At any rate, he provides some serious depth in the back of the Jays’ bullpen. Fantasy owners will want to keep tabs on Storen and Osuna throughout the offseason and spring training until the club makes official decisions on the players’ roles.
Revere, 27, is entering his third of four years of arbitration eligibility after earning $4.1 million in 2015. Between the Phillies and the Blue Jays, he hit a composite .306/.342/.377 with 31 extra-base hits, 45 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 31 stolen bases. Though he hit 21 points higher with the Jays than with the Phillies, the Jays turned him loose on the bases significantly less often: he attempted to steal only nine times in 56 games compared to 29 times in 96 games with the Phillies.
The Nationals were searching for a solution in center field with Denard Span hitting free agency. Michael Taylor had been in line to take over for Span, but Revere will lead off and play center for the Nationals now with Taylor serving as a fourth outfielder.
Veteran fantasy owners will be familiar with Revere’s value. He’ll hit close to .300 or better, score around 75 runs, and steal 30-plus bases. Revere provides little else as his power is practically non-existent and batting first (leading off and then batting behind the #8 and pitcher’s spots in the lineup) limits his RBI opportunities.
Giants Sign Span
The Giants signed outfielder Denard Span to a three-year, $31 million contract on Thursday. The deal includes another $5 million in incentives as well as a mutual option for a fourth year.
Span, who turns 32 in February, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip in August, ending an injury-plagued season. When he was in the lineup, Span hit .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases in 275 plate appearances.
Though Span has regularly been a productive outfielder, putting up over three Wins Above Replacement on average each season between 2008-14, his age and injury woes limited his market in free agency. The Royals, Mets, Cubs, Nationals, and Orioles each had reported interest in Span but declined to pull the trigger on a contract. That being said, if he can stay healthy, Span can contribute in many ways at the top of the Giants’ lineup and on the bases.
Span will handle left field at AT&T Park with Angel Pagan in center and Hunter Pence in right with Gregor Blanco backing up all three. Pagan has dealt with myriad injuries himself in recent seasons, so Span’s ability to play center provides the Giants some insurance.
Marlins Ink Jackson
On Saturday, the Marlins officially inked pitcher Edwin Jackson to a one-year contract. It is worth $507,500 and includes a full no-trade clause.
Jackson, 32, is looking to rebound as a starter after spending the entire 2015 season pitching out of the Cubs’ and Braves’ bullpens. This followed up two abysmal seasons in the Cubs’ rotation in 2013 and ’14 in which he compiled an aggregate 5.58 ERA. This past season, as a reliever, the right-hander posted a 3.07 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 21 walks in 55 2/3 innings.
For the Marlins, Jackson will provide cheap starting rotation depth. The Marlins are still on the prowl for starting pitching, however, as they have reported interest in free agent lefty Wei-Yin Chen and Cuban right-hander Yaisel Sierra.
Quick Hits: On Thursday, pitcher Anthony Bass asked for and was granted his release from the Mariners to pursue opportunities in Japan … The Mariners signed reliever Ryan Cook to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training on Thursday … The Royals signed pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract on Thursday that includes a $1 million base salary as well as incentives if he makes the major league roster … The Rockies are reportedly among the teams “making a push” for free agent outfielder Gerardo Parra … Free agent outfielder may pursue a one-year contract and attempt to find a better multi-year deal next offseason, according to a report … The Yankees acquired pitcher Kirby Yates from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations on Friday … The Rockies and starter Jordan Lyles avoided arbitration on Friday, agreeing on a one-year, $2.475 million deal … The Angels and starter Hector Santiago avoided arbitration on Friday, agreeing on a one-year, $5 million contract … The Orioles claimed 1B/OF Joey Terdoslavich off waivers from the Braves on Friday … Teams have approached free agent Jimmy Rollins about playing second base, according to a report … The Indians reportedly have interest in utilityman Juan Uribe ... Per a report, Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez wants to return to the starting rotation … New Marlins manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Barry Bonds are urging the club to hang onto outfielder Marcell Ozuna … The Cardinals are close to signing Korean reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, according to a report … Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins told MLB Network Radio on Sunday that he plans to meet next week with 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion and outfielder Jose Bautista to discuss contract extensions … Mets GM Sandy Alderson is reportedly reluctant to go beyond one year on a deal for a free agent reliever.