"[Jonathan] Papelbon is our ninth-inning pitcher," Mike Rizzo told reporters, including MASNSports.com's Chris Johnson last night, after the Nats acquired Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for 22-year-old minor league arm Nick Pivetta.
"Drew will pitch the ninth inning at times when Papelbon's not available and be our set-up guy in the eighth inning as we're constructed today," Rizzo continued.
So is Storen going to be satisfied with his new role? That's the question everyone was asking after the Papelbon trade was made.
Second-year Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked that question this morning in an MLB Network Radio interview.
Here's his response:
"Well, it's an interesting dynamic, for sure," Williams said.
"But, as an organization and as a team, we've got to look at, 'How do we make our team better?' And [Papelbon] certainly does that for us. He helps us become a better team.
"So the job then is to make sure that Drew knows what we're thinking and Drew is a professional. He understands the game and he understands what we need to do to try to win baseball games, and he's going to pitch when he's called on to pitch and get those three outs.
"That's how he looks at it. It's never easy. It's never an easy conversation to have with any player. And you put yourself in their shoes and understand what they may be feeling, but at the end of the day, we're all on the same end of the rope and we're trying to win baseball games. So, that's his attitude anyway.
"That's what he told us, is that 'Listen, I'll go get three outs. If you need me to get more outs, I'll get more outs. I owe it to my teammates. I owe it to my organization to be as good as I can be.' So that's a healthy positive attitude that he's got, for sure."
Storen's take when he spoke to reporters last night?
Here's what MASN's Chris Johnson quoted the deposed closer saying after last night's loss to the Miami Marlins:
"Really, all I'm gonna say is that obviously I'm aware of the move," Storen said. "I've talked to (Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo) about it. I've talked to my agent. We've had some ongoing discussions. Until those have progressed, I'm just gonna leave it at that and no comment for now. But as the situation goes, I'll keep you guys posted."
How will this all play out over the next few months? How did it go over in the clubhouse? Will D.C. fans warm to the newest addition to the back of the bullpen?
Here's what the baseball world is saying about the Nationals' move to bolster the bullpen:
• NATS BEAT:
• 'Storen's frustrations are understandable and justified. The 27-year-old has saved 29 of 31 opportunities this season with a 1.73 ERA." - "Nationals Pastime: Drew Storen reacts after losing closer role to Jonathan Papelbon" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Drew Storen, of course, is the aggrieved party here, the likeable and effective closer who has spent this season doing absolutely nothing wrong." - "How Drew Storen reacts to Nats’ trade for Jonathan Papelbon will be crucial" - Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post
Drew Storen, Jonathan Papelbon, the eighth inning, the ninth inning, and what matters for Nats: http://t.co/PylkneQ0t3— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) July 29, 2015
• "Take the names and reputations out of the equation and consider for a moment the basic facts of what happened yesterday..." - "Key to trade isn’t Papelbon, it’s Storen" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Now former closer Storen made what amounted to a statement, his voice steady and unemotional, referring vaguely to on-going discussions with his agent and Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo." - "Jonathan Papelbon’s new teammates share their thoughts on the new Nationals closer" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "A team already in first place, with designs on playing deep into October, has traded for a pitcher who has reached baseball's summit." - "Nationals trade for closer Jonathan Papelbon" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com
• "They’re beatable," Clippard said (via ESPN). "There’s no perfect team in baseball right now. Everybody can go on skids." - "Tyler Clippard says Nats are ‘beatable,’ looks forward to ‘chasing down my old teammates’" - Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post
• "The Nationals‘ swaying bullpen ended up with its fresh voice by the end of day, when rabble-rousing closer Jonathan Papelbon was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies..." - "Nationals acquire closer Jonathan Papelbon in trade with Phillies" - Todd Dybas, Washington Times
• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:
• "Papelbon has challenged Phillies executives to get him off of the losing team, but he also has said he would not waive his no-trade clause to go somewhere he does not close." - "Papelbon bumping Storen as closer could bring discord to Nationals" - Joel Sherman, New York Post
Scouting The Prospects In the Zobrist/Papelbon Trades http://t.co/ORNI20x0Hu— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) July 29, 2015
• "Storen told reporters that he has discussed his situation with his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA, and with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo." - "In the wake of the Nationals' acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon from Philadelphia when they already have a closer in Drew Storen, the question must be asked: Why are the Nationals inviting such drama into their clubhouse?" - Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports
• "That’s what some people are having trouble understanding. Why replace what doesn’t need to be replaced? Isn’t Papelbon redundant?" - "Nationals Reward Drew Storen Breakout With Jonathan Papelbon" - Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs Baseball
Nationals Reward Drew Storen Breakout With Jonathan Papelbon http://t.co/LALuurPHJx— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) July 29, 2015
• "'We didn't want to just get rid of him. He had an extraordinary career with us,' Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in Philadelphia." - "Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon traded to Nationals for double-A pitcher" - Jake Kaplan, Philadelphia Inquirer
• "Tyler Clippard is assimilating himself to the Mets quickly and he is making no bones about helping them top the Nationals in the N.L. East." - "Newest Mets reliever Tyler Clippard lobbing shots at Washington Nationals: 'They're beatable'" - Mike Vorkunov, NJ.com
New post for Insiders - thoughts on the Nats acquiring Papelbon for a solid starting pitching prospect: http://t.co/IA2Nu15Txb— keithlaw (@keithlaw) July 29, 2015