It is clear that the Washington Nationals have a surplus of strong arms at the back end of their bullpen. This may not be the case for long, however, as rumors have been circulating that the team is looking to move one of the trio of arms.
Before the signing of Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen was Nationals’ closer, saving 43 games in 2011. After Soriano was added to the roster, Storen was forced into a dual setup role with Tyler Clippard, creating an awkward situation for former manager Davey Johnson, as he struggled to use the right arm at the right time.
This decision most likely will not be as hard for first year manager Matt Williams next season, but General Manager Mike Rizzo must decide if there is an odd man out, and if so, who is it. Soriano will not be traded due to his 2 year $28 million contract, proving last year to not be worth as much as he was paid.
Trading Drew Storen would be considered selling low, and the organization would lose a player with high upside. Storen’s dreadful 2012, where he had an ERA of 4.52, is the exception not the rule. Teams are not willing to offer nearly as much for Storen as they are for Clippard, making Clippard the only viable trade option for the Nats.
Tyler Clippard was Washington’s most reliable option out of bullpen last season, and the only player who could truly be trusted with a lead. Trading him would create a great amount of uncertainty within the bullpen, and could prove costly during late game situations.
Unless Rizzo is overwhelmed by an offer for Clippard, he should not be traded. Clippard was the most irreplaceable player on the roster last year, and is the most valuable of the three late game relievers. If the Nationals have hopes of reclaiming the NL East from the Atlanta Braves, they will need Tyler Clippard setting the save up for Rafael Soriano.