Here are Nationals’ former closer Drew Storen’s comments regarding the Jonathan Papelbon trade. You know, the trade that made him the former Nats closer:
“All I’m going to say is, I’m aware of the move and I’ve talked to Mike about it. I’ve talked to my agent about it,” Storen said. “We’ve had some ongoing discussions. Until those have progressed, I’m just going to leave it at that. No comment for now. But as the situation goes, I’ll keep you guys posted.”
Not exactly the team-first sort of comment the Nats likely hoped for. But then again, being a closer comes with a weird set of politics that make me-first more valuable than team-first in many instances. Thanks to the save stat — still the only stat that dictates a player’s usage rather than the other way around — the way you make serious money as a relief pitcher is to get those fancy and magical saves.
Of course, a good way to solidify yourself as a Brand Name relief pitcher is to have some big innings, including setup innings, in the playoffs. That’s how we all met Mariano Rivera way back in the day. The Papelbon acquisition improves the Nationals and makes the playoffs far more likely. So whether Storen is thinking me-first or team-first or some combination of both, this can be a good thing for him long-term.