Roberto Osuna is back in the ninth inning.
Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons made it official early this morning in Dunedin, announcing Osuna as the team’s closer after a spring training battle with Drew Storen, who arrived this offseason in a deal for Ben Revere
Osuna cracked the Blue Jays 2015 roster out of spring training as a 20-year-old, significantly ahead of his expected arrival.
In 69.2 innings pitched over 68 appearances, Osuna recorded a 2.58 ERA with 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He also racked up 20 saves after taking over the closer’s role from Miguel Castro and Brett Cecil earlier in the season.
Storen, on the other hand, experienced a more tumultuous 2015. For the better part of four months the Nationals’ right-hander was one of baseball’s top relief arms. Then, naturally, Washington sought out a replacement for his role.
Up to late July, Storen appeared in 38 games with an impressive 1.38 ERA. Along with striking out 44 batters in 36.1 innings, he also converted on 29 of 31 save opportunities. Then, enter Jonathan Papelbon.
With Papelbon being handed the ninth innings, Storen’s game quickly fell out of sync. In his final 20 games Storen would blow three saves, pick up two losses, and post a 6.75 ERA.
Some have also questioned Storen’s playoff pedigree after his struggles in the 2012 and 2014 NLDS, but those cover a sample of just 5.1 innings. Regardless, this is clearly an arm that benefits from some consistency of role.
Still just 28-years-old, Storen is in his final arbitration year before free agent eligibility and is set to earn $8.375 million.