After everything had blown up publicly. After Drew Storen's disastrous outing against the New York Mets last Friday. After Tyler Clippard publicly criticized the organization's handling of the situation and their signing of Rafael Soriano, or at least the message it sent, Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson was asked if it was better that everything was out in the open now, or "on the table," as a reporter phrased it? As the Nats' skipper explained, it wasn't exactly a secret before this last Friday. "It's been out," Johnson said before asking the reporter a rhetorical question. "What do you live in a vapor lock? It's not news."
Storen was sent to Triple-A Syracuse after 42 1/3 IP with the Nationals this season in which he'd posted a 5.95 ERA and a 4.15 FIP, with 13 walks (2.76 BB/9) and seven home runs (1.49 HR/9) allowed and 43 Ks (9.14 K/9) collected. As the Nats' manager explained, he wanted the 25-year-old right-hander to go down to the team's top affiliate and figure things out. "He just needs to get right mentally and mechanically because I need him," Johnson said, "It's that simple. But I don't need him where he's at, where he kind of, at times fights the situation."
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo said the same in his weekly radio appearance on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s eponymous "Mike Rizzo Show" as he wrapped up a long discussion about the signing of Soriano, optioning of Storen and the assessment of the organization's actions by Clippard. Put simply, he wants Storen to succeed. None of it was done to punish the right-hander. After all, Rizzo said, Drew Storen is a "Mike Rizzo guy."
"I'm the one who drafted him," the Nats' General Manager said, "I'm the one who [signed] and [developed] him. Brought him to the big leagues at a very early age and gave him the opportunity to close out games and his job as a closer in the big leagues is by no means ended. This guy has got major league closer stuff. He's going to close out games in the big leagues and help us win games."
As Washington Post writer James Wagner's report this afternoon shows, Storen's already back at it with the Triple-A Chiefs, going about the hard work of getting himself back to the majors as soon as possible. It's a good read and good writing by Mr. Wagner as usual. More importantly, it's a good story for fans of Storen who were concerned about the way things went for him before he was optioned to Syracuse...
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