Washington Nationals Analysis: Winter Meetings Preview

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Storen is traded to Houston Astros

Rumors are already circling, he’s the face of the bullpen’s disappointing season, and his self-inflicted hand injury is alarming. No one wants Drew Storen to succeed more than Mike Rizzo. With that, he still wants to put the Nationals in the best position to win and the best way to accomplish that would be to have Storen pitching in a different uniform in 2016.

Before the Nats traded for Jonathan Papelbon and derailed his season, Storen was quietly putting together a stellar year, going 29-for- 31 in save opportunities with a 1.73 ERA and 10.9 K/9 through his first 36.1 innings pitched. After Papelbon was acquired, Drew was initially locked in, pitching five straight hitless and scoreless innings immediately after the trade as the team’s set-up man.

It all went downhill from there, as Storen finished the year allowing 14 earned runs over his final 15 appearances (9.22 ERA). After two particularly rough outings, he ended his season early by slamming his thumb in his locker door and suffering a non-displaced fracture.

While the problem may have not been necessarily Storen’s fault, his history of choking in playoff games as well as his complete meltdown in the second half doesn’t bode well for his chances of remaining in Washington. The Astros, in an effort to add depth alongside Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek, are reportedly interested in trading for the 28-year old righty. While he only has one year remaining on his rookie contract, he still retains some relative value.

Next: Middle infield depth