Veteran pitcher Drew Storen hopes to be one of the new faces in the Phillies bullpen for the 2020 season. The 32-year old right-hander, whose best season came in 2011 when he saved 43 games for the Washington Nationals, signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training where he will be among several new faces looking to be a part of the Phillies bullpen. Should he make the major league roster, Storen will earn $750-thousand with the Phillies.
Storen is definitely a reclamation project for the Phillies after he missed all of the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and pitched in just nine games with the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals, an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Those nine games covered 10 1/3 innings of work and he posted a 7.84 ERA. Storen last pitched in the majors with Cincinnati in 2017. Prior to having his season cut short by the Tommy John surgery, Storen appeared in 58 games with the Reds – who were managed by new Phillies pitching coach Bryan Price – and posted a 4.45 ERA.
Storen contributing to the Phillies bullpen in 2020 would carry some irony with it, not just because he pitched for Price with the Reds, but because the Phillies played a role in ending his stint as the Nationals closer when they dealt Jonathan Papelbon to Washington in July of 2015. Papelbon supplanted Storen as the team’s closer even though he was having a productive season for the Nats. Later in that season, Papelbon got into a dugout altercation with Bryce Harper and choked the 2015 MVP on the Nationals bench. Harper joined the Phillies last March after signing an historic 13-year contract as a free agent.
The Phillies have added some relievers during the offseason, but none who figure to remove Hector Neris from the team’s role as the closer. The Phillies are also hoping that right-hander Seranthony Dominguez can return from a UCL injury to serve as Neris’ setup man out of the ‘pen.
After Storen saved a career-high 43 games for the Nats in 2011, injuries limited him to just 37 games the following season when he posted just four saves. In 2013, he posted just three saves in 68 games with Washington. Storen saved 40 games over the next two seasons with the Nationals before being dealt to Toronto for outfielder Ben Revere, who had played in over 300 games with the Phillies between 2013 and 2015. The Phillies had traded Revere to the Blue Jays during the 2015 season. Revere has appeared in 470 MLB games over eight seasons and has 99 saves with a 29-18 record and a 3.45 ERA with the Nationals, Toronto, Seattle and Cincinnati.