Blue Jays trade from position of strength to improve bullpen

The Toronto Blue Jays have sent Ben Revere to the Nationals in exchange for pitcher Drew Storen to help shore up the bullpen.

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays used some of their outfield surplus to bolster their bullpen Friday night, acquiring Drew Storen from the Washington Nationals for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.

The trade is the first of note under new general manager Ross Atkins, and it also opens up the possibility of Aaron Sanchez returning to the starting rotation since there’s now someone in place who can cover his innings.

Sanchez could also remain in the bullpen and the Blue Jays could have a formidable lockdown group with Storen, Sanchez, Roberto Osuna and Brett Cecil.

Storen saved a career-high 43 games for the Nationals in 2011 and closed out another 29 contests last season before the trade-deadline acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies bumped him from the role.

The 28-year-old, a free agent next fall, posted a 3.44 ERA in 58 games but his Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP, was 2.79 and he posted a tidy WHIP of 1.109 while striking out 11 batters per nine innings.

Losing Revere means the Blue Jays will need to find a new leadoff hitter – perhaps Troy Tulowitzki will return to the role? – but they still have Michael Saunders to play left field with Dalton Pompey, Ezequiel Carrera and Junior Lake all in the mix, too.

Storen is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $8.8 million in his final season of arbitration while Revere is projected at $6.7 million. The deal includes cash for the Blue Jays to balance out the salaries.