Drew Storen was signed earlier this week by the Cincinnati Reds, as they attempt to strengthen the back-end of their bullpen. In doing so, the question becomes “Who will be the closer?”. As of now, it appears as if no decision has officially been made. The decision does not appear as if it will be made until Spring Training, when manager Bryan Price has a chance to see all of his bullpen guys throwing after the off-season.
A safe prediction would be for Raisel Iglesias to be the guy who gets that closer spot and Storen sliding into the eighth inning. Then, using Tony Cingrani and Michael Lorenzen working the sixth and seventh where needed.
As for Storen, he is coming off his worst year statistically, posting a 5.23 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners. He gave up 30 earned runs, only one less than his career worst, and he also tied his worst total of home runs given up with seven. While the Reds are hoping that a fresh start with a new team can provide the opportunity he needs to be successful, it’s difficult to determine what they will get from Storen.
Iglesias, on the other hand, is coming off a season in which he put up a 2.53 ERA over 78 innings, with a 1.14 WHIP and 83 strikeouts. He seems to be the guy who would be most ready to take on that closers role. Also, if he is to struggle during the season, then there are viable options for Price to replace him.
Storen, if successful, could slide into the role he is very familiar with, thanks to his time with the Washington Nationals. With Storen being on a one-year contract, hopefully, it helps drive him to resemble more of the Storen of 2015, when he racked up 29 saves for the Nationals. Cingrani could fit in there as well, coming off a season that saw him post a 4.14 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. Then there is Michael Lorenzen, who could also slide in there after coming off a season where he posted a 2.88 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Both Cingrani and Iglesias were given opportunities down the stretch last season, so it would be easy to assume that they, along with Storen, would be the top candidates heading into Spring Training.