The Cincinnati Reds reached an agreement Tuesday with veteran relief pitcher Drew Storen on a contract for 2017. 

The Reds officially announced Storen signed a one-year deal on Twitter. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported the deal is worth $3 million with a $1.5 million performance bonus and a $500,000 bonus if he’s traded.

Storen struggled with the Toronto Blue Jays, posting a 6.21 ERA and 1.59 WHIP across 38 appearances, after getting shipped north of the border by the Washington Nationals last offseason. A second trade in seven months, this time to the Seattle Mariners in July, helped him get back on track.

The 29-year-old reliever finished with a 3.44 ERA and 0.87 WHIP while striking out 16 batters in 18.1 innings down the stretch for the Mariners. Those numbers were more in line with what the former Nats closer accomplished during his time in the nation’s capital.

Bob Dutton of the News Tribune passed along comments from Storen about working his way back into high-leverage situations in Seattle after sliding down the bullpen pecking order in Toronto:

I enjoy those situations because you’re just rolling off adrenaline. I’ve been in those situations before—usually because of my fault. It’s a good spot. That’s a really important part of the game, and it allows me to be the bridge to the flames we have coming out at the back. Those guys are just coming out and attacking people.

In addition, showing he could be trusted in the late innings helped bolster his stock heading into the offseason after it took a downward turn for a while.

Storen has become more comfortable with his changeup over the past few years, but he still relies predominately on his sinker and slider. When he’s commanding those two pitches effectively, he can provide a lot of valuable innings out of the pen.

In the end, the Reds decided he was worth the investment as they worked to upgrade the bullpen during the offseason. It’s a signing that probably won’t garner much attention given the crowded reliever market, but it’s still a solid addition.

The Reds are in the process of rebuilding, which is why they aren’t looking to make many long-term investments. Bullpen depth is essential for the team in 2017 after its starting pitchers threw 859 innings last season, fewest in MLB

It’s also a wise move for Storen to start next season with a team like the Reds. He will likely be used in high-leverage situations early in the year, and if he is successful, there’s always a market from contending teams for relievers at the trade deadline. 

His exact role in the pen probably won’t be known until close to Opening Day. He could work himself into the seventh or eighth inning with a strong spring training. And it’s a bonus that he has closing experience should the need arise during the year.

The deal does come with some risk when you factor in his struggles with the Blue Jays. But the upside outweighs the downside when taking his whole track record into account and where the Reds are at starting next season.



Read more MLB news on