2016 Fantasy Baseball: Ben Revere Swapped for Drew Storen
The Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays made a trade on Friday that flew a bit under the radar but really addressed the needs of both ball clubs. As first reported by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Nationals will acquire outfielder Ben Revere and a player to be named in the deal with the Jays in exchange for right-handed reliever Drew Storen. Revere, 27, is projected to make roughly $6.7MM in arbitration this coming season and is arb-eligible for one more season after that. Storen is set to receive about $8.8MM in his final year of arb-eligibility. Ken Rosenthal also tweeted that the Nats will send cash to the Jays to even out the salaries, essentially making this deal dead-even from not only a talent perspective but on a financial level as well.
Revere is slated to take the place of the recently departed Denard Span for the Nationals, who signed a three-year deal with the San Francisco Giants just this week. Revere and Span were former teammates back in Minnesota and were actually moved from the Twins in the same offseason that first brought Span to Washington.
Revere profiles as a pretty solid replacement for Span, being a little bit faster, younger, and more durable. And though he might not possess as much pop as Span or be as good defensively, Revere plugs that gaping hole in the Nationals leadoff spot and also provides the club with some more options for their lineup.
Revere was one of baseball’s best contact hitters in 2015, and struck out just 64 times in 634 plate appearances. He also has 176 career stolen bases and has only been caught 42 times. The addition of a true “top of the order guy” like Revere allows the club to place hitters like Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon in more RBI prominent positions in the lineup, and Revere’s outfield versatility gives the team the option of platooning him a bit with Michael Taylor in centerfield whilegiving Werth more frequent days off in left. Werth has often been hurt in recent years with the Nats; and while possessing some great tools in center, Michael Taylor has yet to become consistent enough for the everyday job as he hit just .229 with a sub .300 OBP in 138 games last season.
As for the Blue Jays, Revere had become an expendable piece in a crowded outfield. Revere was acquired around the trade deadline in 2015 and helped the Blue Jays reach the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1993, serving as a table setter for Toronto’s dangerous middle of the order. However, with Michael Saunders returning from injury in 2016 and Dalton Pompey serving as the team’s fourth outfielder, there was really nowhere for Revere to play with center field and right field occupied by Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista, respectively.
While Washington wasn’t really trading from a position of strength like the Blue Jays were, it seemed about the right time for Storen and the Nationals to part ways. Saying that Storen had his ups and downs in a Nats uniform would be an understatement. He had earned and lost the closer role multiple times over his tenure in Washington and was not happy when the team went out and acquired brash closer Jonathan Papelbon to take his place in summer 2015. Storen was having a solid year as the team’s closer at the time but struggled mightily as a setup man after Papelbon was added. Nevertheless, Storen is a talented bullpen arm and still has a career 3.02 ERA with an 8.6 K/9 and 1.129 WHIP.
In terms of fantasy value, Revere is a decent outfield pick and could likely see a spike in his stolen bases now that he doesn’t have Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion hitting behind him. Revere lead the NL in hits just two years ago and is a lifetime .295 hitter. Storen on the other hand is a little more dicey. He has definitely shown the ability to be an above-average arm at the back end of a bullpen, but his streaky reputation doesn’t bode well for his chances of going into Toronto and being named the ball club’s closer outright. Roberto Osuna flourished in that role for the Jays last season, tallying 20 saves and finishing fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.