Cincinnati Reds sign Drew Storen to be their closer in 2017

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds finally added some experienced pitching by signing Drew Storen to a one-year deal.

The Cincinnati Reds have finally reunited a pair of dominating Indiana high schoolers.  Tucker Barnhart and Drew Storen were teammates for two years at Brownsburg High.  Storen has said that he looks forward to throwing to Barnhart in an MLB game.

Barnhart and Storen talked prior to the signing of the deal with Barnhart able to tell how it felt to be a Red to a lifelong fan in Storen.  At the age of 29 Storen becomes the veteran leader in a very young bullpen.  Storen has been in the big leagues since 2010.

Drew had a rough 2016, much like the Reds, where he played for both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners.  Storen was the primary closer for the Washington Nationals in 2015, but didn’t serve in that role last year.  Last year Reds relievers had a collective ERA of 5.09, which beat Storen’s 5.23.

2016 was Storen’s worst career season.  He made over $8-million for the Jays and Mariners after he was traded in exchange for Ben Revere.  He pitched in 38 games for the Blue Jays, mostly as a primary set-up option, before they sent him to the Mariners.

The Cincinnati Reds want to see Storen pitch as a closer, but they need to see that he is ready for the pressure again.

The Reds really want Storen to be the primary closer to start the season.  They would love for Michael Lorenzen to be able to transition to the closer’s role more slowly.  They also wouldn’t mind for Lorenzen to close on the nights after Storen does so that Lorenzen minimizes his appearances on back to back nights.

Storen has been the primary closer three times in his career.  In 2011, 2014, and 2015 he spent all or parts of the season as the primary closer for the Washington Nationals.  Storen has converted 98 of 120 career save opportunities.

In addition to his experience as a closer, Storen has also spent time as the primary set-up man.  Over seven seasons, Storen has collected 82 holds.  His career high was 24 in 2013.

For the past four seasons Storen has been one of the more consistent relievers in baseball.  The Reds can expect to get 55-70 appearances out of him and 850-950 pitches over the course of the season.  He also makes about 65% of his pitches strikes on an annual basis.

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The signing of Storen gives the Reds almost unlimited flexibility with Blake Wood and Raisel Iglesias, including a trade.  He also provides them with a player to flip mid-season if things are not going well.  Hopefully, Storen will stay a Red all year long.