GOODYEAR, Arizona -- Reds manager Bryan Price’s plan is to use a closer-by-committee approach this season.
Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Tony Cingrani and Drew Storen will all end up with some saves if Price’s plan come to fruition.
Storen, the 29-year-old right-hander the Reds added as a free agent, would like to put a crimp in the Price’s plan, i.e., he want to close.
“Honestly, if you’re down there and you don’t want to, you don’t deserve to be down there,” Storen said.
Every reliever worth a rosin bag will say that. The difference is Storen has a long record of closing. He has 98 career saves, including 43 for Washington in 2012 and 29 in 2015.
He saw the Reds as a chance to get back to that role.
“Opportunity,” Storen said. “It’s an opportunity for me to pitch in impactful innings during the game. The other thing, it’s a young bullpen. Hopefully, I can help those guys out. There’s a lot of young talent down there. But definitely, the opportunity that I was going to get was the big thing.”
Price, again, says he wants to get away from the traditional closer. He doesn’t plan to name one, largely because he plans to use Storen, Iglesias, Lorenzen and Cingrani in multiple-inning roles.
“To have an everyday closer, you have to have a typically one-inning guy or a one-plus-inning guy," Price said. "Multiple innings, you might have three or four save opportunities in a row. You can give that to a one-inning relief pitcher or closer. You really don’t do that with multiple-inning guys, I don’t think. I would really like to see this particular game plan we have in place to work out.”
Cingrani led the Reds last year with 17 saves. Iglesias had six. Price hopes to spread it out again.
“It’s asking a lot,” Price said. “It’s asking potentially four guys to be comfortable pitching in the ninth inning. However, we know with Storen and Cingrani, particularly Storen has done it for an extended period of time.”
Storen knew that bullpen by committee was the plan when he signed. He’s OK with that.
“As long as long as I'm throwing big spots, that’s where I’m successful," he said. "Setting up, closing, whatever it is, I want to be out when the game is on the line.”
Storen comes to the Reds trying to get his career back on track. If not for his struggles, Storen would not have been available to the Reds at $3 million for one year.
Those struggles started in 2015. He recorded 29 saves in 30 chances before a trade-deadline move that brought Jonathan Paplebon to the Nationals in late July. Storen’s ERA at the time of the trade was 1.64. It was 7.56 after it and he blew four more saves.
Washington traded him to Toronto in January of 2016.
He had a 6.21 ERA with Toronto before getting moved to Seattle at the 2016 trade deadline. In Seattle, he put up a 3.44 ERA and a 0.875 WHIP over 19 appearances.
“It definitely wasn’t a great year,” he said. “There’s no way around that. I was making an adjustment of going to a new team, which I severely underestimated. I think I kind of got away from what made me successful.
“Any time you struggle, you find out what you need to be doing. When I got moved to Seattle, I went back to doing what I had been doing in the past. I was just glad to end the year on a good note. You start chasing your tail a little bit when you’re struggling.”
Storen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and was a high school teammate of Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart. That’s made the transition to the Reds easier and he’s back in the National League.
“I think in general it’s easier because I know what it’s like to be with a new team,” he said. “There’s a little more familiarity with the game. The game is different in the American League. Everybody is playing for the three-run homer over there. I enjoy the NL style.”