Asked this weekend, in a conference call with reporters, about the trade that sent Drew Storen and cash to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for outfielder Ben Revere and a Player To Be Named Later, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo said he's always happy to trade one year of control on a reliever for an everyday player.
"Any time you get an everyday-type of player that can impact the ballclub and fits a need so well for a reliever that has one year left, then that’s something you have to look into," Rizzo explained.
Revere, 27, gives the Nationals a left-handed hitting, top-of-the-order-type hitter who can play multiple outfield positions, and more importantly, as Rizzo said, is under control for two more seasons at a reasonable cost (with a projected $6.7M salary in 2016) coming off an impressive .306/.342/.377, 22 double, seven triple, two home run, 31 steal season in 2015.
"He’s one of the fastest players in the league," Rizzo said. "He can steal you a base. He plays good defense. He’s a left-handed contact hitter. When we talk about players like Ben Revere and his skill set, he doesn’t hit many doubles and he doesn’t get many walks, but the guy gets on base.
"Last year, he was at a .342 clip. His singles turn into doubles. We feel good about him. He’s hit at the top of the lineup each stage of his career."
So how did the deal go down? Both Rizzo and Toronto Blue Jays' GM Ross Atkins talked about the trade in separate interviews this weekend.
"This trade came about like a lot of trades that we do," Rizzo explained.
"We really look into each and every organization and see what kind of fits that there are or what kind of combinations that work for us.
"We usually have a wish list going into the offseason of what type of players that we need. We investigate where we see a fit. This deal came about by two teams having a good fit for each other. It’s a good baseball trade."
Atkins, in an MLB Network Radio interview on Saturday, said much the same about what was actually his first official trade as a General Manager.
"As you guys know, there are so many discussions you have that don't end up coming to fruition or at least an exchange," Atkins said.
"We have been having a lot of dialogue with several teams and this one started just getting more and more palatable for us and more and more interesting as we considered all of our alternatives. So, not much different than all of the others, other than the fact that we were getting much closer to making the exchange where we're talking to pro scouts, we're talking internally, obviously having all of the external discussion and ultimately got to a point where we felt like it was best for us and I think [Rizzo] felt like it was best for them. It was one of those trades where it's a great exchange because we're both hopeful that both teams just got better. They were trading from an area of depth, as were we."
"We get a lot of things that help us," Rizzo said. "We get ourselves a good left-handing hitting outfielder who plays all three positions, can hit at the top of the order, can steal you a base, brings you energy, brings you a smile to the ballpark every night. And they get themselves a quality pitcher that can pitch back end innings of a ballgame.
"So a good baseball trade. It came about by both teams having interest because of a fit and because of a need and it worked out well."
"We no longer have a classic, prototypical leadoff hitter and Ben Revere was that for us," Atkins said, but the addition of Storen, 28, who has one year of team control left (at a projected $8.8M) coming off a 2015 campaign which saw him post a 3.44 ERA, a 2.79 FIP, 16 walks (2.62 BB/9) and 67 Ks (10.96 K/9) in 55 innings, provides the Blue Jays with the flexibility they were after with their pitching staff.
"Just increased the depth, certainly increased our flexibility," Atkins explained.
"Now, not only do we feel better about our bullpen, but we also feel better about our starting options because of who we may or may not be relying on at the end of the game.
"So, really, as we looked at it from a distance, knew that if we could get that deal done at a fair value that it would make our team better."
Rizzo finally found the "real baseball offer" he was waiting for in order to consider actually trading one of his late-inning arms and Atkins and the Blue Jays got a reliever that gave them roster flexibility. Win/win?