Odds & Ends: Byrdak, Rangers, Storen

Sunday night links..

  • The Astros have agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM with pitcher Tim Byrdak, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.  The dollar figure is the midpoint between Houston's offer and Byrdak's submission.  The agreement leaves Wandy Rodriguez as the team's last remaining arbitration eligible player.
  • Boston's international scouting efforts are starting to yield some results, writes Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal.  Of the twelve minor leaguers at this year's rookie development program, six of them were foreign-born.
  • Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) hears that Chuck Greenberg's group will pay $570MM for the Texas Rangers, though he notes that is unconfirmed.
  • While all eyes are on Stephen Strasburg in Washington, right-hander Drew Storen is trying to make the Opening Day roster, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.  The Nationals used their other first-round selection, tenth overall, to select Storen in the 2009 draft.


33 Responses to Odds & Ends: Byrdak, Rangers, Storen Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 5 years ago

    Storen is going to be the next Huston Street. The kid throws real heavy and looked great in the Arizona Fall League. I’d be surprised not to see him with the Nationals on Opening Day.

  2. cardinalsincontentionagain 5 years ago

    Two serious prospects. It would be nice to see some bats.

  3. grant77 5 years ago

    They are never going to get anywhere taking a reliever with a top 10 pick. They need good starting pitchers and positional prospects more than anything.

    • ejr 5 years ago

      on the one hand, you’re right that a reliever in the draft isn’t helpful. (why draft relievers when they don’t have consistent stats year-to-year.) but the nationals bullpen was bad last year (lowest k/9 in the NL; highest WHIP; 2nd worst LOB%). so, if this guy gives them any bump in those stats, it’s good news for them. He was a closer in college. might have the fastball to close in the majors. Looking at picks 11-15, the only other choice that might have helped the Nationals would have been Grant Green. But that would have been down the line. Storen might be up in 2010 or 2011.

      • strikethree 5 years ago

        Relievers are more easily attainable than other players. One good reliever (and this is assuming he WILL be good) won’t revamp an entire failure of a bullpen.

        • berndaddy 5 years ago

          Storen has the stuff to be a starter. It wouldn’t shock me to see him be a start in a year or two. This kid is a bulldog either way. The Nats need some bulldogs.

        • ejr 5 years ago

          re: relievers. I agree — I just think that the Nationals logic here wasn’t totally out of left field. They used their #1 pick on a potentially great starter and used their #10 on a potential closer. I’m not convinced Storen will save them, but a young arm that isn’t just someone else’s scrap will be cheaper, at the very least. We’ll see!

  4. I’m a little worried about the potential beating that Storen will take without having played a full season of pro ball. According to MiLB.com the guy has only thrown 37 innings in the regular minor league systems, and another 13.2 in the AFL. With the crowded bullpen that Washington looks to have this year, perhaps at least half a season of AAA would be good for him.

  5. ejr 5 years ago

    Does Jon Heyman ever get confirmation on anything? he’s usually off on salary figures; I wouldn’t be surprised if he was off on this info, too.

  6. Dooda 5 years ago

    Why did the Nationals have a second first round pick?

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      In the 2008 draft they picked Aaron Crow and failed to come to terms with him. So according to the collective bargaining agreement they got another first round draft pick for the 2009 draft.

      • Guest 5 years ago

        That can also be rephrased, “Because our GM was this guy name Jim Bowden and, boy let me tell you, he may have been the worst GM in the history of the game.” Hell, he probably picked Aaron Crow because he thought he played for the Reds and when he found out he didn’t he decided not to sign him.

      • MNTwins2010 5 years ago

        Actually that’s not correct at all, the pick was given to them out of organizational pity.

    • PujolsHollidayWestbrook 5 years ago

      Because they failed to sign their draft pick last year at #9 overall, so MLB gives you a pick in the following year’s draft, one slot below the previous year.

  7. I wouldn’t mind taking a good college/high school reliever in the first round. The Braves drafted Joey Devine and since his trade to the A’s he has been a great late inning/set up man. Look at Chad Cordero, when he was healthy he was a really good closer. So, I don’t think it is that bad to draft relievers in the first round. Especially when you are the Nationals and you get a potential ace in Strasburg and a potential ace closer in Storen. If they draft Bryce Harper this year, they could a potentially great battery with Strasburg and Harper. (Assuming Harper stays at catcher)

    • strikethree 5 years ago

      Relievers in baseball aren’t worth nearly as much as other players.

      They pitch around 50-100 IP a season and they are also very volatile. It is much easier to find a replacement reliever than it is for any other position. Even the best relievers rarely top 2-3 WAR every season.

      Not only can you probably find a suitable replacement in your minors, but it is also much more likely that more relievers are available through FA and through trades. You don’t have to commit the same dollar values and you don’t have to commit an insane number of years like you would with starters.

      Unless you’re hoping to convert a drafted reliever into a starter, then it just seems completely counter-intuitive to draft a reliever in the first round. (And unless there is a significant difference of talent from the next available draft choice)

      • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

        Never understood that belief, especially after watching the Red Sox pen blow it for years. The fact is the day of a the starting pitcher being the only one on the mound that day died years ago. Only 33 pitchers last year threw over 200 innings, of them only 6 threw more than 3 complete games during the year (Halladay was the only to throw 9). Verlander threw 240 innings last year over 35 starts which averaged out to less than 7 innings a game. Even iron man Halladay averaged less than 7.5 innings per game. Point being, if you follow up a Halladay or Verlander with a rotten reliever…

        Would I pay an ace closer the same as an ace starter, of course not. But as much as we like to say relievers “aren’t worth nearly as much as other players,” the fact is we’d feel differently watching a crappy pen blow the game over and over. Think the yanks would still be great all those years without Mariano closing it out? I’d say relievers are worth far more than you think they are.

        • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

          With respect, literally everyone in MLB who pays for players disagrees with you. Think they’re all nuts?

          It isn’t simply that the ROLE relievers play is of little value; you’re correct that a consistently poor bullpen will doom a team as quickly as bad SP or an unproductive offensive. The reason that relievers are less valuable is that there are so many of them that can adequately fill the role.

          As strikethree pointed out, even your top tier relief guys are considerably less consistent than top tier players at other positions; they pitch less and struggle more. Mostly due to the nature of the position, virtually all of them are streaky. What this means is that it’s a very replaceable position: lots of guys — old & young, hard-throwing & crafty — fit that mold and so can reasonably be given a shot at a relief job.

          In other words, the supply of capable players for that kind of role is enormous. For this reason, even if you think the category of relief is extremely valuable (and most don’t), on an individual basis, value will be driven down. And it is, across the board.

        • strikethree 5 years ago

          RB already explained most of what I wanted to say so let me give an example…

          Yes, Mariano Rivera is a great closer. But, he is also one in a million. If you were drafting a Mariano Rivera, then go right ahead. His true value is his success in the postseason. Would the Yanks have the same number of rings today without him? Probably not. But, I still believe they would have an almost equal number of successful regular seasons.

          Now, take a look at last season’s postseason and tell me how many of these “ace” relievers successfully closed out games? I distinctly remember almost every closer not named Rivera blowing saves. This just goes to show how volatile relievers are.

          Brad Lidge posted a great season one year and then posts one of the worst seasons for a reliever in MLB history. Yet, he still managed 31 saves. A win(pitchers’ stat) is considerably more harder to achieve than a save.

          I think a lot of teams overrate the closer position and yet they don’t want to waste a high draft pick on relief pitchers. Why? Simply because they don’t contribute as much as other players and are much more common.

          So if you’re drafting Mo, then good for you. But, you’re drafting a future HOF pitcher… what if you had to choose between a Mo or Roy Halladay? Or a HOF position player?

          • I really don’t understand why you guys had to respond to my personal opinion, you guys go on about the value of good starting pitching and well didn’t the Nationals take the consensus best starting pitcher in Strasburg? They had to first round picks, Strasburg fits what you guys are talking about and Storen was a cheap, sign-able pick. They drafted what they wanted, I just don’t see the harm in drafting a closer when you get a potential ace in Strasburg as well. If they just would have taken Storen, then I can see the complaint. But, as I have stated before they had two first round picks, so what is the harm?

          • strikethree 5 years ago

            So the only reason it was a good choice was because the Nats chose Strasburg first?

            This is still a 1st rounder we’re talking about. That pick still could have been used on another high upside starter or position player. This isn’t the Yankees we’re talking about… the Nationals need every WAR they can get.

            Also, it is a lot easier to convert a starter into a reliever than vice versa. Mo, for example, was a starting pitcher.

            This one instance may not seem much, but it adds up in the long run.

          • ejr 5 years ago

            looking at the other players available at #10 suggests they could have gotten other starters or a SS, but chose Storen instead. I’m not sure it was the worst pick considering no one else seemed as “guaranteed” as their #1.

  8. GPooch21 5 years ago

    I dont understand why everyone is arguing over this. There is no doubt that starters a more valuable than relievers. Hence why Strasburg got $15 mil and Storen got $1 mil. But you cannot blame them for making a signable pick on an undrafted draft pick who just so happened to be the best reliever in the draft. Not to mention who will be in the majors less than 1 year after being drafted

    • ejr 5 years ago

      I agree that Storen’s quick path to the majors had something to do with this. The Pirates have a similar setup right now — young players in the system with no one really blocking their path.

  9. start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

    My point is simple: No, I wouldn’t pay a good reliever as much as a good starter, but I also don’t under estimate their true value. Let me put it this way: your team holds a one run lead, would you rather Joe Nathan or Kevin Gregg coming out of the pen? Don’t under estimate the value good relievers have on a team.

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      Whatever your point was, you offered it in response and in contrast to one you still appear to have missed: quality relievers are far less valuable than quality players at ANY other position. This is not just because relief work itself is less valuable (even though it is), but because there are many many many more players available to adequately perform it.

      That is how value is calculated. The importance of relief work itself determines demand, the supply of players available to perform it determines supply. You’re talking about the value of relief work — about demand. There’s very little dispute about that: bad relief costs you games. What you’re overlooking is supply. There are so many pitchers capable of performing satisfactorily in relief that using a lot of resources on any particular one is unwise.

      Accordingly, using top draft picks on relievers is almost never a sensible decision.

      • So, you’re saying that using a second first round draft pick for top flight talent at a position where you are extremely weak (all the Nats relievers were fired at one point, maybe Acta will pull the same thing in Cleveland) is a bad move?

        The Nationals’ bullpen was by far one of the worst in baseball last year. Storen, a college reliever had the makings of being an elite closer at the MLB level. While normally drafting relievers that early might not be wise, the Nationals were wise to draft Storen when they did. They easily got two of the best pitchers in the draft with Strasburg and Storen, not to mention Storen wasn’t about to haggle over price either which a guy like Alex White would have.

        And now Storen, whether you like it or not, is poised to play at the MLB level next year. Not only did they draft an impact player, but they drafted an impact player who will make his impact only a year from when he was drafted at the latest. Can you really call that a bad move?

        • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

          “So, you’re saying that using a second first round draft pick for top flight talent at a position where you are extremely weak (all the Nats relievers were fired at one point, maybe Acta will pull the same thing in Cleveland) is a bad move?”

          I’m saying there are almost always better moves, yes.

          “The Nationals’ bullpen was by far one of the worst in baseball last year. Storen, a college reliever had the makings of being an elite closer at the MLB level. While normally drafting relievers that early might not be wise, the Nationals were wise to draft Storen when they did. They easily got two of the best pitchers in the draft with Strasburg and Storen, not to mention Storen wasn’t about to haggle over price either which a guy like Alex White would have.”

          It seems like you are setting out to disagree with me, but so far you haven’t. Using top picks on relievers is almost never sensible, I said. You’re telling me now about a situation in which in might be. You’re not wrong; you’re just not contradicting anything.

          “And now Storen, whether you like it or not, is poised to play at the MLB level next year. Not only did they draft an impact player, but they drafted an impact player who will make his impact only a year from when he was drafted at the latest. Can you really call that a bad move?”

          IF the alternatives included drafting and signing a player of his quality at another position, it is absolutely an inferior move. Saying nothing of the fact that one quality reliever thrown into a staff of lousy ones hardly improves the bullpen at all, a quality reliever is more easily replaced than any other quality player — so you shouldn’t spend a coveted resource (a top draft pick) on one; that’s been the point all along.

          Now, if the alternatives DON’T include drafting and signing a player of his quality at another position, that changes the calculus. And there’s an argument to be made that the Nationals could not have afforded to sign anyone more expensive, as any other top pick would have been — in which case such alternatives did not exist. That is pretty much the only context in spending a top pick on a reliever is sensible, I agree.

          But it should also be said that insofar as it is a CHOICE not to spend more money signing draft picks — and so a choice to be forced to draft a signable reliever — THAT’S a completely insensible decision. Why? Because, after all, relievers deliver the least amount of performance value and the Nationals are a team in desperate need of the most.

    • strikethree 5 years ago

      As RB stated: this is about wasting a high draft pick on a reliever.

      A few points:

      Players and starters with upside can contribute to 5 – 9 WAR

      While even the very best relievers rarely break the 2.5 WAR mark.

      Drafted starters can convert to relievers while it is much harder (in all levels of baseball) to convert a reliever into a starter.

  10. PujolsHollidayWestbrook 5 years ago

    They signed Storen BECAUSE they knew that he would come cheaper AND have value. The Nats new that they would spend more on Strasburg and with so many glaring needs, they selected the best value pick in the draft allowing them to give more to Strasburg.

    • berndaddy 5 years ago

      No truer words have been written…

      The talk before the draft was that Storen should be given a chance to be a starter because the kid has three MLB pitches. He’s don’t you’re everyday reliever. He wants to pitch in pressure situations, but the real truth will come out. As a Nats fan I’m hoping sooner than later…(and yes, sooner than never)

  11. I’m going to quote the good PujolsHollidayLudwick below us:

    “They signed Storen BECAUSE they knew that he would come cheaper AND have value. The Nats new that they would spend more on Strasburg and with so many glaring needs, they selected the best value pick in the draft allowing them to give more to Strasburg.”

    Strasburg wasn’t going to sign with a team like the Nats for anything short of a boat load of cash. Any other first round pick would have held out for more money which would mean that while the Nats may have been able to afford it, they may not have had the budget to sign both and Storen may have been picked before the Nats would have had their third.

    This wasn’t a bad move, any addition that can substantially help your club in a draft and do it in a year or less is a smart move. Was it too high? Maybe, but would he have been around otherwise? We don’t know. And because he was able to be signed cheaply, they were able to give Strasburg the money he demanded giving them a potential ace within two years.

    I think drafting Storen when they did makes complete sense, especially when you see the kinds of contracts that aging veterans like Brandon Lyon got. And that is where I disagree with you. In this case it was a smart choice, in most other cases it could be silly.

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      “any addition that can substantially help your club in a draft and do it in a year or less is a smart move.”

      The fact that Storen may contribute positively next year or in the next give changes not at all the fact that generally speaking, spending a top draft pick on a reliever when one could spend it on a position player or starter instead is unwise. This has nothing to do with how good Storen is or isn’t likely to be, but with how valuable to the team he’d be even if he IS good versus how valuable an equally good player at another position would be.

      It is said that it was smart in this scenario because the Nationals could not have afforded to sign a position or starting pitching prospect in addition to Strasburg. I am not convinced of this at all, but frankly, even if it might have been true (they wouldn’t have known for sure in advance), it would probably have been smarter to take a chance on trying to sign one anyway, safe in the knowledge that if they failed, they’d simply have another top pick next year.

      Instead they get a reliever who, at his very very best, won’t have the kind of impact on the club’s performance that’s hard to replace – now or ever. Relievers are highly replaceable and top draft picks simply are not best spent on highly replaceable players.

Leave a Reply