TORONTO -- Drew Storen has the fresh start that he wasn't necessarily looking for -- but one that became necessary following a tumultuous season with the Nationals.The hard-throwing right-hander saw his six-year tenure in Washington come to an end Friday night, when he was sent to Toronto as part of
TORONTO -- Drew Storen has the fresh start that he wasn't necessarily looking for -- but one that became necessary following a tumultuous season with the Nationals.
The hard-throwing right-hander saw his six-year tenure in Washington come to an end Friday night, when he was sent to Toronto as part of a deal for outfielder Ben Revere. The trade put an end to months of speculation regarding Storen's status with the Nats that began when the club acquired Jonathan Papelbon.
Storen fell out of favor shortly after Papelbon's arrival. He struggled down the stretch in his new role as a setup man before suffering a season-ending injury on Sept. 9.
"It's easy to draw conclusions and think it was some anger, but it was far from that," Storen said regarding his struggles. "For me, I think it was just a workload situation. When you close, you know when you're going to throw and you're not getting up and sitting down as much.
"Going into the setup role, we were playing tighter games and more must-win games. I was up quite a bit and I was throwing a lot. When you're throwing late in games, your room for error is very small. Yeah, your velocity might be the same, but the ball might not cut as much, sink as much or you miss your location by an inch. So for me, I think that was the biggest thing."
Prior to Papelbon's arrival, Storen was one of the top relievers in the National League. The 28-year-old had 29 saves in 31 opportunities with a 1.64 ERA over 38 1/3 innings. Despite Store's elite level of performance, the Nationals, in an attempt to contend, wanted more.
In the days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Washington acquired Papelbon. The goal was to have a pair of relievers lock down the eighth and ninth innings. But at one point in the middle of August, Storen allowed 10 runs over four appearances to send his ERA into the mid-threes.
Storen is quick to deflect blame away from Papelbon's arrival in Washington. He believes it's a coincidence.
With the Blue Jays, rookie Roberto Osuna is coming off a strong year as closer, so there's no guarantee the job will be handed to Storen. But as far as Storen sees it, that's just fine -- he has a "been there, done that" mentality about the situation.
"Honestly, it's something for me that's not all that important, because I've dealt with it before," Storen said. "I know, no matter what, any of those last nine outs are important. Whatever they want me to do, I'm going to go out there and do my job. And I'm excited to join the team, join the guys and really work towards a championship."
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The addition of Storen allows Toronto to consider moving Osuna or Aaron Sanchez to the starting rotation. The Blue Jays will also be tempted by a late-inning quartet of Storen, Osuna, Sanchez and Brett Cecil that could rank among the game's best relievers.
"It is a fresh start, but there also were great times with the Nationals," Storen said. "This game is full of adversity, and for me, any time I've had it, I've gotten better from it. I'm really excited -- the Nationals are the only organization I know, but to be able to go up north and play for Toronto and a great team, great organization, you couldn't really ask for anything more."
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.