The trend is sweeping across baseball: Add as many elite relievers as possible.
The Kansas City Royals won the World Series thanks in large part to their deep bullpen, the New York Yankees have stocked up again this off-season, and the Houston Astros are buying in, too.
Storen knows first-hand that one elite reliever is never enough.
“It definitely is changing, but I’m also a believer that you can run into problems if you have too many of those guys,” Storen told Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Monday.
Listen to the full interview here.
“It’s almost like a basketball team, you’ve gotta have a guy that can (do his job), like a guy who I played with for a while in Craig Stammen who can come in a two-run deficit game and hold that and instead of having to use one of your setup guys, you can save them for a night, but Craig can also go four innings. You need to have a guy, too, who is really flexible and that can pitch in tight spots but also can eat innings, also, and eat innings in ugly games.
“So just as important as those guys to lock down the wins, which everybody knows are important, you need to have the guys, too, who are capable of eating innings and just kind of being bulldogs and playing the non-glorious roles in the bullpen.”
While Storen’s precise role has yet to be determined, he’ll be fine with any assignment.
“One thing that I’ve learned being in this game for the time that I have it doesn’t do you any good to sit there and say, ‘Oh here’s your title and this and that,’” he said. “The title doesn’t matter, all of those outs are important. It doesn’t change what I have to do. I have to prepare to get three guys out so, for me, if that stuff works out, job title, whatever it is, I’ll still be drinking coffee no matter what if I’m not closer — that’s the way I look at it.”
Storen had to give up his closing job to Jonathan Papelbon last summer as a member of the Washington Nationals. A self-inflicted thumb injury didn’t help matters.
“There are just certain things that happen in this game that you really can’t control and as long as you make the most of the situation you’re in, that’s really the best way to go about it,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter what role I was in, if you try to do too much you’re going to get hurt. If you’re too frustrated, you (may) have an accident and get hurt. It taught me a lot, and like any other struggle I’ve had in my career I learn from it, I get better and this is a great opportunity for me to do that.”
Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, general manager Ross Atkins and manager John Gibbons are all happy to have him on board, Storen says.
“I’ve talked to them, just brief conversations. All seem very great and they’re all very excited to have me. I expressed my gratitude and hopefully they know how excited I am to be a Toronto Blue Jay.”