About an hour before last night’s game, Drew Storen walked past Jerry Hairston, a player who’s spent more than a dozen trade deadlines in the majors. “You’re thinking about it,” Hairston said to Storen. “Aren’t you?”
Earlier in the day, Storen’s name had surfaced in a potential blockbuster trade. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports reported, citing anonymous sources, that the Nationals are talking to the Twins about Denard Span and that Storen “could be in play.” When contacted, neither Nationals GM Mike Rizzo nor Twins GM Bill Smith, unsurprisingly, would comment on the report.
Once Storen’s connection to the possible started rattling around the internet, it became inevitable that the news/speculation would find its way to Storen’s attention.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Storen said. “It’s kind of a compliment that people want me. It’s one of those things that’s part of the business. The whole trade thing is what it is. It’s not anything I can control. It’s not anything I can worry about. I understand that Mike is going to do everything to make this ball club better. If that involves me getting sent somewhere else, it is what it is.
“But I’d like to stay. When I signed here, I wanted to be in it for the long haul. I’ve invested a lot emotionally. But I understand, it’s a business. But this is where I want to be.”
Since the Nationals picked him 10th in 2009, their first draft choice after Stephen Strasburg, Storen has often talked about his desire to help the Nationals become a winning franchise. It would be difficult for the Nationals to part with a 23-year-old who, aside from his sparkling on-field performance, has always done right by them. He signed the day after he was drafted. He’s intelligent and accommodating with the media. He’s a fan favorite. Smirk if you want, but that stuff matters.
I have not confirmed Rosenthal’s report, but the trade would make sense for both sides. Storen still has five seasons under team control and is on the short list of the best young closers in baseball, having saved 25 games in 28 chances this season with a 2.68 ERA. He would give the Twins an affordable player for years to come at a position that typically takes an expensive contract to fill. And the Twins have a surplus of outfielders, including speedy rookie Ben Revere.
From the Nationals standpoint, they are feverishly looking to find a long-term answer in center field, and Span, 27, will not be a free agent until 2015. The Nationals also need a leadoff hitter, and Span has a .361 on-base percentage this season – which is actually five points lower than his career ob-base percentage. Losing Storen would sting, but relievers are the most volatile commodity in baseball. No knock on Storen, but risk is part of any reliever’s package.
The hypothetical trade might make sense for the Nationals. But that wouldn’t make it easy, for either the team or Storen.
FROM THE POST
Jack McKeon is living out his good new days as Marlins manager, Dave Sheinin writes.
After a ninth-inning rally, the Nationals lost 7-5 to the Marlins, their fourth straight defeat.
After such a fine start, the Nats are back in last place, Tracee Hamilton writes.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Syracuse 2, Columbus 0: Brad Peacock carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He allowed no runs in seven innings on one hit and four walks, striking out seven. Michael Aubrey went 2 for 4 with a double.
Harrisburg 6, Bowie 3: Bryce Harper went 3 for 4 with his first Class AA home run, two runs and a strikeout. Harper raised his average to .250. Tim Pahuta went 3 for 4 with a home run. Oliver Perez allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings on six hits and five walks, striking out three.
Potomac 5, Wilmington 1: Sammy Solis allowed one run in 7 1/3 innings on six hits and two walks, striking out four. Justin Bloxom went 2 for 4 with a double.
Hagerstown was off.
Auburn 3, Hudson Valley 1: Brian Dupra allowed no runs in four innings on one hit and one walk, striking out three.