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Nationals promote Drew Storen

The Nationals promoted reliever Drew Storen from Class AAA Syracuse and he will join the team Monday night in St. Louis, Manager Jim Riggleman said. Storen, the No. 10 overall pick in last year's draft, becomes the first half of the Nationals pitching prospect duo to make the major leagues. Stephen Strasburg will have to wait until, most likely, June 4 to rejoin his teammate and close friend.

To make room for Storen, the Nationals designated struggling Brian Bruney for assignment. Storen's role for the moment is unspecified, but the Nationals want to start his career with low-pressure situations.

"We'll see where he fits in, what role," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "We'll try to make it easy and get his feet wet at first and go from there. We're going to try to make it easier. You don't want to throw somebody right into the fire. Conditions will dictate what happens, but that's the way you'd like to do it."

Storen began the season in Class AA Harrisburg and has pitched in Syracuse since April 30. After retiring the only two batters he faced Sunday against Pawtucket, Storen has a 1.08 ERA in 16 2/3 innings, allowing 15 base runners while striking out 15.

Storen signed with the Nationals the day after they drafted him out of Stanford in hopes he would make the major leagues as fast as possible. Storen immediately reported to Class A Hagerstown, from where he began his rapid ascension. He hoped to make the major leagues out of spring training, but instead the Nationals wanted to give him more seasoning in Class AA and Class AAA.

Storen will replace Bruney, whose ERA rose to 7.64 Monday, in the Nationals bullpen. Bruney will be placed on waivers and can be claimed by any club. If he clears waivers, Bruney will have the option to report to Class AAA Syracuse or become a free agent. The Nationals universally praised Bruney's attitude and work ethic, but his performance had deteriorated.

"I'm certain I can add a lot to another major league or again to this one at some point," Bruney said. "I don't feel like I'm a minor league pitcher, so we'll see what happens. Maybe somebody else doesn't feel that way, either. As it sits now, I'm going to go home.

"This is a results orientated game. When you don't produce, obviously you're going to think about that. I dug myself a hole. I think I pressed a little but too much and tried a little bit too hard. This is what it ended up. I don't blame anybody. I appreciate the opportunities they gave. I feel good. I'm healthy. We'll see what happens."

The timing of the move could cost the Nationals financially. Although the deadline has not yet been established, Storen will likely become a Super Two player and reach arbitration and free agency a year early. But the difference for a reliever is nearly negligible, especially compared to a starting pitcher or elite position player.

Storen will become the eighth player drafted by the Nationals/Expos franchise to appear in a game this season. The ninth is not far behind.

"If you can sign your players and get them to the big leagues, that's a big deal," Riggleman said. "You've got history on them, you know what their aches and pains are, the little things that they do, if it means anything, if it doesn't mean anything. When you develop your own, you know what you've got. The more people we can put out there that we drafted and developed, that's how you're going to end up winning."

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 16, 2010; 3:56 PM ET
 
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Next: In Drew Storen, help is on the way

Comments

Nice scoop Shiner>

Get in there Storen!

Bruney will probably clear waivers. Nobody wants to pay that salary to listen to a nutter.

Posted by: Brue | May 16, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the 39 year old Batista would be more likely to clear waivers. Don't be surprised.

Posted by: periculum | May 16, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Storen is coming up, but that's only half of the story - Who's going down / out?

Posted by: BinM | May 16, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Nice move, time to see how the kid does in the bigs. With Clip and Capps carrying the load they can ease him in. All he has to do for starters is be better than Bruney. Man, you could almost see the steam coming from Riggleman's ears when Bruney walked the first two men he faced the other night. Nice to have some options in Syracuse if someone falters. We may need Chico if Lannan continues to struggle and winds up you-kbnow-where. Of course SS will bump somebody out of the rotation but I hope it's Altilano.

Posted by: Natmeister | May 16, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Bruney's gotta go. He's - by far - the biggest disappointment on the Nats' roster this year. Bigger than Marquis, IMO. You can't predict injury, and Marquis' arm was obviously not OK. Bruney seems to have nothing physically wrong with him - he just can't find the plate, and when he does, he serves up meatballs. I'm SO disappointed, since he was initially thought to be our closer, and at worst, a great set-up guy. Hopefully he'll clear, and go to AAA, and figure himself out. But he's become so unreliable, that he can't be put into any game that's not a blowout. He's a severe liability on a .500 team right now. He's got to go.

Peri, i really don't think they'll risk losing Batista - he's really our only long man, and while he's far from infallible, he's proved useful. I'd be shocked if they picked him over Bruney.

Bruney has got to go.

Posted by: TheBorg | May 16, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Great move! Definitely can't be worse than Bruney or Batista!

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 16, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

TheBorg: Bruney bigger dissapointment than Marquis de Bad at what they're paying Marquis? i beg to differ and the e.r.a. of Marquis is at twenty plus i'm no fan of Bruney but imho they both can go!.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 16, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag,

Marquis just had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. He'll be fine in 6-8 weeks, and his track record indicates that he is worth the $15 million over 2 years.

After Storen replaces Bruney, the next one to watch for is Balester replacing Batista. You heard it here first. Balester tweeted that he's rejoining Syracuse and that so far his conversion from SP to RP has been going well. Hopefully, he keeps pitching uneventful innings out of the bullpen and re-joins the Nats in his new role in early June.

Posted by: ericp331 | May 16, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Drew.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 16, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see the Nats making the roster move that's best for the team on the field and ignoring the financial implications.

Posted by: urbanbunnies | May 16, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

It's a different team and management from 2009. Last year we would've kept Bruney because we had nobody from AAA to replace him. Now, you better perform or you're gone...

Posted by: bromisky | May 16, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Ericp331: I beg to differ on Marquis,no will admit it now but this was one of the few bad moves Rizzo has made, the Rockies passed on Jason and his salary demands and this despite the Rockies staff being ravaged by injuries this past off season and spring training,look Marquis has an era of over 20!!! i just don't see him helping the Nat's this season.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 16, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Sweet! Go get'em Drew. Just keep doing what you do.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 16, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Adam --

I don't understand your point that "Storen will likely...reach...free agency a year early. But the difference for a reliever is nearly negligible."

How is losing Storen's services a year earlier "nearly negligible"? It seems like a big deal to me. After all, while the Nats have improved this year, they're much more likely to be contending for a championship six years from now.

What am I missing?

Posted by: Dynatic | May 16, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

@ Dynatic: If Storen reaches maximum potential and goes to arbitration a year sooner, the difference between what he would get in a tender offer (non-arbitration eligible) and what he could submit as an arbitration figure are smaller in comparison to what a starting pitcher with SS's stats will likely command in arbitration.

Posted by: TimDz | May 16, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"Storen will likely...reach...free agency a year early. But the difference for a reliever is nearly negligible."

This aspect of Adam's reporting is not correct. To reach free agency, a player needs six full years of service time. At this point, Storen cannot get a full year of service time for 2010. So, he won't be eligible for free agency until after 2016, same as if the Nats had waited until June to call him up.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | May 16, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

CiL - Agreed.

Storen may become arbitration eligible a year earlier (if he meets the Super2 service date which is TBD).

This does not affect when he becomes a free agent.

Good for the Nats to do this and not stress the financial implications.

Posted by: Sunderland | May 16, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag - If you're saying Marquis has been a disappointment, I don't think anyone will argue with you.
But if you're ready to give up on him (and the $15M investment), that's a pretty quick trigger.
He's proven to be a capable MLB pitcher. No more, but capable. And we*had* to voerpay to get a free agent starter to come here.
Marquis is hurt. He'll get it fixed. Then we'll see.
Makes no sense to whack one guy (Marquis) for getting hurt when you are signing other guys (Wang) who were available only because they got hurt.

Posted by: Sunderland | May 16, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Storen moving up. I've liked this kid's attitude from the beginning. I hope he does well.

Posted by: EKruse | May 16, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

@EricP
"After Storen replaces Bruney, the next one to watch for is Balester replacing Batista. You heard it here first. Balester tweeted that he's rejoining Syracuse and that so far his conversion from SP to RP has been going well. Hopefully, he keeps pitching uneventful innings out of the bullpen and re-joins the Nats in his new role in early June."

This seems to me to be wishful thinking from a big-time Balester fan. Balester's going to have to show he can do quality relief work at Syracuse (or even Harrisburg?) before he gets a shot. I've go to believe that Strasburg's call up moves one of the current starters into the bullpen and moves Batista off the roster unless Batista shows that he's going to give us more than he has of late. If there were more blowouts where we needed innings eaters he'd be valuable to us but so far there haven't been lately.

Balester's been hyped for awhile, but he seems kind of spacey to me. I'd bet we've got as much chance seeing Balester here as we've got of seeing Bergmann back. Bergmann's been decent in Syracuse since he was sent down.

Posted by: souldrummer | May 16, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

See, Strasburg! If you didn't have such a Dick-Wad agent you'd be in the bigs already!

Also, you can forget about rookie of the year honors, or anything of that nature, because your innings limit will ensure you don't qualify. You can thank Boras for that, as well.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 16, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

A little concerned about Nyjer no doubt Francis was tough,but Nyjer may be pressing just a bit and i think him being thrown out with regularity so far has affected him, also a key point this afternoon was only one run after Nyjer and Desmond got on 2nd and 3rd no outs and they only got one run, Zimm didn't deliver at all today but he had plenty of company, how hey respond this week(Card's,Mets,O's) will say a lot about this team.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 16, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Simply: Halleluyah !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | May 16, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

@jboogie1 - Boras may or may not be a dickwad. Whatever.

But it's got no bearing at all on his innings pitched (the Nats decide that, and they want to limit young pitchers to no more than a 20% innings increase from the previous year).

And it's got no bearing on when he would be called up. They'd be keeping him in the minors until June even if his agent were Big Bird himself.

And since it has no bearing on his callup date or his innings limit, it's also got no bearing on his odds of being rookie of the year.

Aside from that, you were spot on!

Posted by: Sunderland | May 16, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland is correct. CiL, you get partial credit. If Storen racks up more time this season than 83% of the rookies in this class, he becomes a "Super Two" player, and becomes eligible for *arbitration* a year earlier, not free agency:
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/05/super-twos.html

Posted by: TheBorg | May 16, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

F YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been clamoring for a Bruney/ Storen switch for a month now...I am so happy this has happened.

Posted by: Cartaldo | May 16, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Peri: i'm not surprised by this. are you?! ;-)

note: Bruney's ERA is a run and a half higher than Batitsta's, he's not as flexible, and Batista's WHIP is nearly a full point lower (1.57 vs bruney's 2.32 (which is astronomically high). >>Thanks to another poster on Zuck's blog for this. :-)

Posted by: TheBorg | May 16, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

"Sunderland is correct. CiL, you get partial credit. If Storen racks up more time this season than 83% of the rookies in this class, he becomes a "Super Two" player, and becomes eligible for *arbitration* a year earlier, not free agency:
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/05/super-twos.html"

I was addressing only the free agency aspect of Adam's reporting, because that is the aspect that is incorrect. Everyone around here should know by now about "Super Two" qualification for arbitration. That's purely a financial issue for the team; the free agency eligibility question is much different and more significant IMO. But the Nats aren't hurting themselves here with respect to Storen's eligibility for free agency.

Also, there's an interesting point with respect to Super Two, which I will give full credit to Needham on: by bringing up Storen now, the Nats are actually decreasing the chance that Strasburg could be a Super Two, because they are giving another rookie more service time than SS will have.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | May 16, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

BBBBBBBBye-BBBBBBBBye BBBBBBruney!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | May 17, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

I am not as gleeful about Bruney's departure as most folks seem to be. Bruney had GREAT stuff but he couldn't keep it down. On those few occasions when he could keep it low he struck out most of the guys he'd face. But most of the time he had to aim his pitches to get them into the strike zone rather than throw them there naturally so he got rocked.

I hope he clears waivers because maybe they can straighten him out up in Syracuse. It may be a mechanics problem that can be solved with repetition. He really did have a great, darting fastball and a vicious slider that unfortunately wound up about a foot too high.

Batista, on the other hand, has a pitch that seems a little too easy to hit even when he gets it right. I cringe every time he comes into a game because we need luck, which seems to be in short supply lately for the Nats, to get out of a Batista inning without falling another run behind.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | May 17, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Buh-bye, Bruney. Helloooo, Storen!!

Posted by: shanks1 | May 17, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

>You can thank Boras for that, as well.

Posted by: jboogie1

Bryce Harper, you mean? NY Times said 'best teenage power hitting prospect since Mantle'

Posted by: Brue | May 17, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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