Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard in line to replace Matt Capps as Nationals' closer

Leave a comment

Who will be Washington’s closer now that Matt Capps is in Minnesota?
According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com the Nationals “will split the closer’s duties between Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard, and Drew Storen.”
In theory, at least. The odds of manager Jim Riggleman truly going with a closer-by-committee approach for the rest of the season seem pretty long, so my guess is that he’ll give those three relievers various shots in various high-leverage situations before deciding on a primary closer soon enough.
Burnett would be the poorest fit for ninth-inning duties, but Clippard and Storen are both capable of doing the job well. Clippard has a 2.98 ERA, .195 opponents’ batting average, and 136 strikeouts in 121 career innings as a reliever. Storen was tabbed the Nationals “closer of the future” from the moment they made him the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft and has pitched well as a rookie despite some control issues, posting a 2.64 ERA, .234 opponents’ batting average, and 26 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

Getty Images
5 Comments

The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.