Drew Storen saved 43 games alongside a superb 2.75 ERA last season for the Nationals. But the 24-year-old right-hander might no longer bear the title of “closer” when he returns from elbow surgery.
According to Amanda Comack of the Washington Times, Nats manager Davey Johnson told reporters Saturday evening that he’s likely to stick with Tyler Clippard in the team’s ninth-inning role if there are no hiccups between now and Storen’s activation.
Which is something that Storen fully understands.
“I know how baseball is, it’s what have you done for me lately,” the former first-round draft pick told the Times. “And the fact of the matter is I haven’t done anything this year. … It is what it is. It’s part of the business.”
Clippard has converted 12 straight save opportunities and boasts a 1.95 ERA in 32 1/3 innings this season.
The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.
While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.