Reds reliever Drew Storen will undergo Tommy John surgery, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter). A right elbow strain has prevented Storen from taking the mound since Sept. 1, which will go down as his final appearance of the year, and the injury led the Reds to place him on the disabled list a week ago.
In addition to ending his 2017 campaign early, the procedure is all but guaranteed to take Storen out of play for next season. The 30-year-old is due to hit free agency during the upcoming winter, but both the injury and his underwhelming production in recent seasons will work against him on the open market.
Storen, whom the Reds signed to a one-year, $3MM deal last January, pitched to a 4.45 ERA in 54 2/3 innings this season and posted some of the worst strikeout and walk rates of his career (7.9 K/9 and 3.79 BB/9). He also saw his velocity dip for the second straight year, which happened to be his second subpar season in a row. As a member of the Blue Jays and Mariners in 2016, Storen combined for 51 2/3 frames of 5.23 ERA ball. Only five qualified relievers have prevented runs at a worse rate than Storen’s 4.82 ERA over the past two years.
At his best, Storen was one of the game’s most effective relievers from 2010-15, when he worked as a setup man and a closer in Washington. Storen, whom the Nationals chose 10th overall in the 2009 draft, amassed 334 innings of 3.02 ERA pitching in D.C. and recorded 8.65 K/9 against 2.59 BB/9.