After his deal with the Baltimore Orioles fell through last month, Grant Balfour is still a free-agent with spring training under a month away. The Washington Nationals have begun showing interest in the former Oakland Athletics closer, according to FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, and with the interest in adding Balfour, they have opened up to the idea of trading reliever Drew Storen.
The Yankees, in case you didn’t notice, haven’t done a whole lot to the bullpen this winter, with the starting rotation and the infield being the main concerns.
David Robertson will likely be the Yankees’ closer on Opening Day, but after him, every other inning is up for grabs.
If I had to guess, Shawn Kelley would be the Opening Day setup man for Robertson, but only Kelley has that strikeout ability to get hitters out, and wouldn’t be a terrible bridge to the 9th. Oh, and there isn’t anyone else that has shown to be qualified for the job.
Hence, trading for Storen would make sense for the Yankees in quite a few ways: 1) His salary for this season is just $3.45 million, which makes him cheaper than adding someone like Balfour to be the setup man, or even the closer. 2) He does have closer/late-inning experience with the Nationals, and could also be the backup for Robertson in the 9th if needed.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, yes, Storen was the pitcher on the mound when the Nationals blew a two-run lead late in Game 5 of the NLDS in 2012, eliminating the Nationals from the playoffs.
Following that game, Storen did have a down year in 2013. After posting a 2.75 ERA in ’11 and a 2.37 ERA in ’12, his ERA bumped up to 4.52 in 61.2 innings. That’s not saying it would be the same thing in the Bronx.
The way I see it, the backend of the Yankees’ bullpen would look pretty good with Robertson closing the 9th, Storen setting him up in the 8th, and Kelley pitching before him in the 7th.
Here is something you might not know: GM Brian Cashman actually drafted Storen in the 35th round of the 2007 draft, but wasn’t able to sign him. Here we are years later, if Cashman still has interest in him, he should pick up the phone and give the Nats a call.