TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made a major move to bolster their bullpen on Friday evening, acquiring right-hander Drew Storen and cash from the Nationals for outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named.Toronto dealt from a position of strength to solidify an area of weakness, but the trade
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made a major move to bolster their bullpen on Friday evening, acquiring right-hander Drew Storen and cash from the Nationals for outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named.
Toronto dealt from a position of strength to solidify an area of weakness, but the trade will have repercussions throughout the roster. There's some clarity in left field, with Michael Saunders taking over as the starter, but roles in the bullpen remain somewhat vague.
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The Blue Jays were expected to use Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez and Brett Cecil in the back end of their bullpen. Storen now enters the mix, and his presence could allow the Blue Jays to move Sanchez into the starting rotation during Spring Training.
Storen, 27, has 95 saves over six seasons with the Nationals. In 2014, he had a 1.12 ERA over 56 1/3 innings, but his production dipped last season as he posted a 3.44 ERA in 55 innings.
According to FOX Sports, the cash component of this deal will bridge the gap between the two players' 2016 salaries. Storen is projected by MLBTradeRumors to earn $8.8 million in his third year of arbitration, while Revere is projected to earn $6.7 million. Storen is set to become a free agent after the 2016 season, while Revere is under club control through '17.
Revere thrived in Toronto after arriving prior to the Trade Deadline, but he became expendable because outfield was one of the only spots on the roster with a lot of depth. With Saunders in left, Kevin Pillar in center and Jose Bautista in right, prospect Dalton Pompey, Junior Lake and Ezequiel Carrera should compete for the fourth outfield spot during Spring Training.
The departure of Revere leaves the Blue Jays without a prototypical leadoff hitter. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki struggled during his brief time in the leadoff role last season, and manager John Gibbons recently said he didn't believe the veteran All-Star was particularly comfortable there.
Second baseman Devon Travis is one candidate to lead off, but he is expected to be out until June because of shoulder surgery. Pillar and second baseman Ryan Goins are candidates, but neither player is known for getting on base at a high rate.
Storen was the full-time closer in Washington until the Nationals acquired Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies and moved Storen into a setup role. Storen did not react favorably to the move, and he subsequently struggled before a broken right thumb ended his season.
Toronto has a young but successful closer in Osuna, who went from never having pitched above Class A to recording 20 saves in 2015. Whichever formation the Blue Jays use, the duo will combine with Cecil to form a solid core that gets even stronger if Sanchez remains in the bullpen.
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Revere should slot as the Nationals' leadoff hitter, which will enable him to score 85 runs in 2016. Capable of hitting .300 and exceeding 35 steals, the speedster should be a productive outfielder in shallow leagues. Revere may have scored a few more runs atop Toronto's star-studded lineup, but he will likely swipe more bases as a member of the Nats. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was hesitant to allow Revere to run aggressively in front of sluggers Josh Donaldson and Bautista, which resulted in the outfielder stealing seven bases across 56 games.
Revere's arrival in Washington should push Michael Taylor back to a reserve role. Taylor totaled 472 at-bats last season, but he will be unable to repeat that volume of work if Revere, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth stay off the disabled list.
Back in Toronto, this trade opens left field for Saunders. If he can rebound from an injury-affected '15 season, the Canadian outfielder could approach the 15-mark in both homers and steals. Storen will occupy a late-inning role with Toronto, but he is unlikely to garner save chances unless closer Osuna falters in his second big league season. This trade may free up Sanchez to move back into the rotation. To survive as a starter, Sanchez will need to improve vs. left-handed batters, against whom he surrendered an .878 OPS last season.
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.