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Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: DREW STOREN COULD BE BACK IN SAVES PICTURE IN TORONTO

While the Hot Stove Season has gone cold of late, there was a late trade Friday night to reinvigorate things just a bit.  Of course we are referring to the Washington Nationals dealing away former closer Drew Storen to the Toronto Blue Jays for leadoff hitting speedster Ben Revere.  As we always do in these situations, let's take apart the deal and dig into it from a fantasy baseball angle. 

Drew Storen/Roberto Osuna:  Once the Nats acquired All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline last summer, Drew Storen was pretty much doomed from that point onward with the team.  The Nationals made it no secret that Storen was available for trade as soon as the 2015 season was in the books but the market for the hard-throwing youngster was still a bit more quiet than anticipated.  Enter the Blue Jays who arguably had the worst ninth inning performances of any team not named the Colorado Rockies during the first half of last season before they (took our advice) and installed rookie Roberto Osuna who quickly settled things down there.  In fact Osuna was excellent in 2015 during his first major league season as he recorded a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and struck out 75 batters in 69.2 innings.  Osuna also locked down 20 saves in 23 chances to give the Blue Jays much-needed stability in the ninth inning. 

Meanwhile Storen himself was tremendous in the first half of last season as he closed games for the Nationals, recording a 1.89 ERA and nailing down a crazy 27 saves in 29 chances.  That still didn't stop the Nationals from acquiring Papelbon at the trade deadline and quickly name him the team's new closer.  Relegated to setup where he was publicly not happy, Storen crashed and burned the rest of the way as he pitched to a horrid 5.82 ERA and thus stamped his ticket out of town.  While there was no doubt Storen was great the first half of last season, the Nationals didn't trust him as the closer going into a potential postseason.  Storen has been beyond brutal when given the chance to pitch in the playoffs the two years prior to 2015 and that more than anything drove the move for Papelbon and in the end got him sent out of town. 

So now the debate is whether or not Storen will close for the Blue Jays or if the team will stick with Osuna.  The Blue Jays have mentioned early this offseason that they could envision a scenario of transitioning Osuna into a starting pitcher and this is the first thing we thought of when the news of the swap went out.  There has been nothing additional added there and honestly Osuna was so good in the role last season that the Blue Jays may decide not to mess with something that was working.  On the other hand, Storen himself was terrific while closing games last season and his career ERA is a stellar 3.02.  He has more experience then Osuna but the Jays no doubt will be leery trusting him in the postseason if they get there.  With the Jays being prime contenders again in 2016, this is a very real issue for them to ponder.  For now though, add Storen to your cheat sheets at closer and stick him right in front of or behind Osuna until we get some more clarity on this. 

Ben Revere:  With Denard Span departing in free agency, the Nats had an opening for a leadoff hitter.  They got a good one in Ben Revere who is still just 27 despite the fact he has now been one four MLB teams.  While one may think Revere is not a good player since he keeps getting traded, the fact of the matter is that he is very useful and affordable which is the main reason he stays on the move.  There is a lot to like here in fantasy baseball terms as well since Revere has been a very consistent three category contributor in runs, steals, and batting average.  2015 was a typical Revere season in that he hit .306 with 84 runs and 31 stolen bases.  Revere is always a good average guy due to the fact he doesn't strike out much and he works counts for the right pitch to hit.  His speed is tremendous and that will keep him around 30-40 steals this season in front of the Nationals' big bats.  There is nothing at all in the way of power or RBI here so this is strictly a guy who can be your outfielder 3 and help in three categories in any given season. 



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