Few of the 39,940 souls at Busch Stadium paid Drew Storen any mind Tuesday night as he pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. It may have paled in comparison to Michael Wacha’s no-hit bid, but it made an overlooked impact for Storen and the Nationals.
When the Nationals failed to score in the top of the ninth, avoiding a no-hitter only after Ryan Zimmerman’s two-out, infield single, Storen was credited with his 20th game finished. The minor milestone allowed Storen to reach a performance bonus in his contract that paid him an extra $250,000.
With one inning, Storen had made an extra quarter-million bucks and pushed his 2013 salary from $2.5 million to $2.75 million. And you thought Wacha had a good night.
In January, the Nationals avoided arbitration with Storen when they agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Storen could also receive up $1 million for reaching milestones in games finished, starting with the $250,000 for his first 20.
Storen’s agents at CAA Sports presumably insisted on the clause to protect Storen in case he became a closer either via injury or trade. If he saved a bunch of games, he would be paid like a closer.
But Storen reached the incentive in a season in which he recorded only three saves and was at point demoted. How? Manager Davey Johnson, oddly, used him in several mop-up situations or to keep road games close when the Nationals were losing late. Of Storen’s 20 games finished, 13 of them came in a loss.
However it happened, it certainly worked out well for Storen.