Detroit Tigers: Drew Storen Is Worth a Flier
By Ben Rosener
Detroit Tigers relievers have generally been solid this season, but depth is always needed. The Tigers should take a flier on Drew Storen, as he could become an impact reliever for the team.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila did a brilliant job of reloading in the offseason, bringing in a number of quality additions that have already payed dividends. One area that has been particularly improved is the bullpen.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez and setup man Justin Wilson have both been excellent. Additionally, Shane Greene, Alex Wilson and Kyle Ryan have all shown well.
That group, along with Bruce Rondon, have largely been solid. However, Detroit has also had to rely on the likes of Bobby Parnell, Drew VerHagen and Mark Lowe. Parnell and VerHagen struggled in limited action, while Lowe seems to simply be having an off year with an ERA (9.39) approaching 10.
Detroit’s first choice relievers have been dependable, but the team will need depth for the stretch run.
An extra reliever acquired via trade, like Fernando Abad or Will Smith would be ideal, but both are likely to cost a good deal (relatively speaking) in a trade.
The Tigers could find the extra reliever they need on the free agent market. According to a tweet from Sportsnet’s Barry Davis, the Blue Jays have designated Drew Storen for assignment to make room for Ryan Tepera.
Storen has gone through a difficult season in his first year pitching outside of Washington. In 33.1 innings pitched, the former 10th-overall pick owns a 6.21 ERA. Despite the struggles, there’s plenty of reason to believe the reliever can turn things around in a new environment.
First off, the reliever has only walked 10 batters all season compared to 32 strikeouts. Secondly, his defense wasn’t necessarily doing him any favors north of the border. Storen’s FIP (5.00) is more than a run lower than his ERA. What’s more, the former National has been victimized by a .363 BABIP. Last but not least, per FanGraphs, the right-hander has a solid 3.67 SIERA.
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Before joining the Blue Jays, Storen was excellent in his six-year stint in Washington. With the Nationals, the reliever pitched to a 3.02 ERA and a 3.09 FIP—not to mention 321 strikeouts—in 334 innings pitched. He also converted 95 saves, including 43 during the 2011 season.
Potential fit in Detroit
In terms of a potential fit or role in Detroit, Storen (who is a free agent after the season) would likely pitch in a role somewhat similar to Mark Lowe. The former National would initially pitch in lopsided games and situations with less pressure.
If he pitches well in those, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Storen join Wilson and Greene in setup roles. Should Storen pitch well, the case could be made he could be the backup closer to Rodriguez.
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What’s more, the 28-year-old could bridge the gap between Rodriguez and future closer Joe Jimenez. At 34-years-old, the man known as “K-Rod” isn’t going to be around forever. If the former National finds his form again with the Tigers, he could eventually serve as the closer while Jimenez adjusts to big league hitting.