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.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.