Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Drew Storen Gets the Call

By now everything that can be said about Drew Storen probably has been said. So it's time for me to weigh in!

First, there's reading the tea leaves on the timing. Why would they bring him up now, when everyone knows that Stan Kasten and Mike Rizzo can push back delay Storen's eligibility for arbitration by a year if they wait just a couple more weeks?

There are several factors. First and foremost, Storen really does seem ready to succeed. He's put up a 5.82 strikeout to walk rate over 53.2 minor league innings since last summer. Minor League Splits says he'd have a 3.95 ERA over that time if he was going up against major league pitchers. Scouts say he needs to work on holding runners, but he's not putting very many guys on in AAA anyway.

Adam Kilgore points out that the downside of Storen getting super-2 status isn't nearly what it is for Stephen Strasburg. Relief pitchers just don't get paid as much. Take a guy like Jonathan Broxton. He's clearly one of the top young closers in the game, and he had to "settle" for two years and $10.95 million in his first arb-eligible year. So even if Storen is as good as Broxton, you're really only talking about spending the equivalent of one Paul LoDuca signing for that extra year.

Chris Needham speculates that the team could indirectly help push Strasburg out of super-2 status by calling up Storen earlier. That's possible, and the team could do even more in that direction by bringing up Derek Norris and Bill Rhinehart right now.

There's also the fact that relievers are easier to bounce back and forth to the minors. If Stoen hits a rough patch in a month, it's not going to be terribly disruptive to work it out in Syracuse.

But here's one last cockamamie theory I haven't read anywhere: Stan called up Storen in order to stick it to Scott Boras. See, Kasten hates agents. And he hates the current draft system. He thinks that players who get drafted should have no rights to negotiate, and he really hates the signing period brinksmanship which leads many top players to wait till the last minute to sight.

Storen was the exception. He signed right away. Kasten says that players that don't sign right away (for what he wants to offer them) hurt their ability to get to the majors faster. This is his chance to say to Scott Boras, "see? if your players sign right away, we'll bring them up right away." Here's looking forward to the Bryce Harper-Drew Storen comparisons later this summer.
  • Update: Re-reading my last bit of this post, I realize I really didn't make my point clearly. Really, I think Stan is thinking about negotiating with future picks, like Bryce Harper. By calling up Storen now, he has a new talking point for why Harper shouldn't wait till the last minute to sign. Expect him to say, "If Bryce wants to play, he should sign now. Look at Drew Storen. We will play Bryce as soon as he's ready, but if he doesn't sign, he's delaying his career."


Will said...

Nah, it was just so we could extend the gimmicky "Clip 'n Save" to "Clip, Store n Save".

I believe Rizzo was quoted as saying, "It was just too perfect to pass up."

Eric said...

I don't know about "sticking it" to Boras, but rewarding a player for playing from June- August instead of sitting at home waiting for a bigger payday does have value.

Your assumption is that those greedy old owners are trying to take money away from draftees so they can count the duckets on Christmas eve like scrooge, remeber though, unless they are operating the team at a deficit, that is OUR money they are counting.

We pay for the seats, we buy the food and drinks, we watch the TV ads on MASN, it's OUR money!

So do I have a problem with Rizzo attempting to provide motivation for HS or college kids with ZERO professional experience from manipulating the system to pinch every last penny out of my pocket? Yea, not so much.

And to be clear I have no problem with players negotiating to maximum advantage, but 1st of all these aren't players, there draftees (never having played professionally at all), and a system that favors rookies over veterans, and in fact ends the careers of many veterans still capable of performing, is detrimental to the long term health of the sport.

ckstevenson said...

My love for crazy theories (especially conspiracy one's) aside, I actually wouldn't put it past Kasten to be making subtle little dig at Boras.

There was a Bryce Harper article recently in which Bryce says he wants to sign and play right away, but it remains to be seen how that will play out with the Boras "wait till 11:59.30" strategy.

Also, I think the biggest part of this (except for the dire need of another bullpen arm that can get outs) is that Storen has always proceeded Strasburg.

Storen went to Syracuse first, so we could learn the AAA ropes and be there to help Strasburg. Same goes for the MLB level. Storen will learn how things work, and then when Strasburg shows he can help him out.

If you doubt this, there was an article a week or two into Strasburg's AAA time where Storen had to remove a box of balls to be autographed by Strasburg from his locker prior to a start as it would have messed with Strasburg's routine.

Steven said...

I didn't really write it very clearly in the post, but it's not just about sticking it to boras. It's about negotiating with future picks, like Harper. Kasten will now say, "If Bryce wants to play, he should sign now. Look at Drew Storen. Don't wait till midnight of the signing deadline. It'll cost you playing time."

Section 222 said...

Does anyone really think that if Strasburg had signed right away, he'd have been called up any earlier? Heck no. They are intent on him not being a Super-2 and nothing will stand in the way of saving that $15-$25 million. (And I guess they want to keep him on the roster even after he reaches his inning limit (in the bullpen maybe?)). Storen is in a different category as Adam showed and you report here. He might not even be a closer by the time his first arbitration year comes around, especially as a Super-2.

Also, I'm skeptical that gamesmanship by Stan, if that's what it is, will actually affect the Harper negotiation. Boras knows he'll get the biggest contract possible by waiting until the last minute.

IPLawguy said...

I have no problem with Kasten/Rizzo playing the game under the rules as they are currently written. In fact, they'd be foolish not to.