MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Storen, agent meet with Rizzo to discuss role

Storen, agent meet with Rizzo to discuss role

NEW YORK -- Soon after the Nationals landed in New York on Thursday night, reliever Drew Storen and his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, met with general manager Mike Rizzo to talk about Storen's future with the club, Van Wagenen confirmed to MLB.com.

The meeting occurred two days after the Nationals acquired Jonathan Papelbon to serve as the team's closer, bumping Storen to a setup role. Storen is having the best year of his career. Entering Friday's action, he had a 1.64 ERA and 29 saves. Since the acquisition of Papelbon, Storen has been lights-out, pitching two shutout innings and striking out four batters as the eighth-inning reliever.

"Drew and I met with Rizzo last night," Van Wagenen said in a text message. "I'm not going to go into specifics [of this meeting]. His dominating outings the last two days in the wake of the trade only further punctuate his elite talent and mental toughness. We continue to have ongoing communication regarding his role."

Rizzo did not talk about the meeting when he spoke to reporters on Friday.

This is the third time that Storen has lost his job as closer. Coming off a 43-save season in 2011, Storen started '12 on the disabled list because of an elbow injury. When he returned, he had lost his job to Tyler Clippard. Storen regained the closer's role toward the end of the regular season that year.

Storen then lost the closer's role after the team acquired Rafael Soriano, who kept the job until he slumped badly during the second half of the 2014 season. Storen flourished during the month of September and the success continued this season.

Clippard, who is now with the Mets, believes Storen will be professional and do his best to help the Nationals win the National League East.

"It was a little bit shocking," Clippard said about Storen losing his job. "He really didn't lose the job. It was just circumstantial as far as [the Nationals] wanted to improve their bullpen and they did that. He is a professional. He'll be fine. He has been pitching great this year. I've been watching from afar. He is probably throwing the ball better than I have ever seen him throw it. I don't think anything will change from that aspect."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.