Saturday, July 27, 2013

Nats leave it up to Storen; Rizzo on Clippard

Photo by USA Today
Mike Rizzo took some time early Saturday afternoon to discuss sending struggling reliever Drew Storen to the minors. He said the decision to option him to Triple-A was made before Storen even took the mound during Friday’s doubleheader, even as he was battling the flu with a body temperature over 100 degrees. Rizzo now hopes Storen can work through both the confidence issues he may be dealing with, and also alter his mechanics to make his delivery quicker to the plate.

It was a tough decision for the Nationals to make, but Rizzo says it is best for the former first round pick.

“We felt that he was struggling, struggling with his mechanics, with his tempo with his delivery, with his arm slot, and we felt that we would do him better by letting him go down in a less stressful situation, work on his mechanics, get it fixed and get back up here and help us.”

Rizzo spoke with Storen about the move and said the 25-year-old was quite upset.

“He took it hard like a lot of guys that have established themselves in the big leagues take it,” Rizzo said. “I had a long conversation with him today and it was a very good conversation. I explained to him our rationale for it and that he’s a huge part of this organization and he’s going to be for a long time and just need to get him right.”

Rizzo acknowledged the fact bringing in free agent Rafael Soriano may have been the root of Storen’s downfall, but believes it should not have affected him as much as it potentially has.

“I don’t see the reason why it should’ve,” Rizzo said. “He’s a mentally-strong person with good stuff and a guy that we’re getting an established closer with a great track record and we felt there was another guy that added depth and power to the end of the bullpen.”

Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty thinks Storen can still be successful at the major league level, he just needs to regain his confidence and change up his mechanics.

“A lot of it is mental. Confidence-wise,” McCatty said. “It's not fair to Drew or to the team. We've got to go back and get him right where his mechanics are on a regular basis and get him to throw like he's capable of.”

McCatty said the Nats want Storen to do away with his straight leg motion when he pitches and go back to a higher leg kick. Changing his leg motion may bring the rest of his mechanics back into order.

“Right now he's flying off his arm slot, release point is not the same and everything gets effected. It's a snowball effect. He's going to go back to the original leg lift, doing the things that you need to do to hold runners on and also work on getting that arm slot back, getting that release point back, getting that confidence back.”

McCatty and Rizzo both said they don’t believe Storen will need much time to figure it out and find his way to the big leagues. They say it’s now up to Storen to make the proper adjustments and learn from his mistakes.


“It all depends on how you want to take it,” McCatty said. “We've all been sent down. You can go down with the attitude that you're mad and take your time doing it and be down there longer, or go down and say 'I'm going to get this conquered as quick as I can and get back to the big leagues.' What he does and how he handles his business is up to him.”

Rizzo on Clippard's comments: 'I don't agree'

After Friday night’s walkoff win over the Mets, the Nationals locker room quickly turned from celebratory to a much more serious tone. Closer Drew Storen had been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and one player in particular, Tyler Clippard, wasn’t happy about it.

Clippard spoke out on the move, saying he disagreed with the way the organization handled the situation with Storen and the free agent closer they brought in, Rafael Soriano. 

On Saturday general manager Mike Rizzo addressed Clippard’s comments, saying he understand his concerns but wishes he would have gone about expressing them in a different way.

“I talked to Clip,” Rizzo said. “His opinion means a lot to me. I disagree with his assessment of the situation, but you fight to the death to let them speak their mind and say what they want. And that’s what makes these guys what they are on the mound. You’ve got to have a certain type of attitude and makeup to pitch in the latter-end of these games. They’re a competitive bunch, and the one thing I’ve never shied away from is when we have a discussion, we have it man-to-man, eye-to-eye, and I certainly can take his opinion. Like I said, I don’t agree with it, but I commend him for having a strong opinion on it.”

Manager Davey Johnson also spoke about Clippard’s comments. He believes Clippard stated what was already a known dynamic on the locker room.

“I understand all of it. Unfortunately, a lot of the things, that’s baseball,” he said. “All that change is sometimes tough for them.”

16 comments:

SonnyG10 said...

I hope Storen gets a better attitude about being demoted and vows to get his mechanics straight, his head straight, and most importantly, get rid of that stiff leg delivery. Much too slow to the plate. He will never be top notch if he can't hold runners on better.

James Joyce said...

Storen has had the striaght leg delivery his entire MLB career, they decided 100 games in that now he should change it?

Anyway, Rizzo's just so ham handed. In a week he's bad blow-back from his manager and his best reielver. Him not being able to see why Storen saw the inking of Soriano as a shot across his bow is pretty amazing. I think that Mike needs to get some management training. As his people skills do not seem to keep pace with his baseball knowledge.

Tcostant said...

Give Clippard a break, he losing his roommate and best friend & I'm sure he listened to Storen many a night how he was done wrong. Total pass for Clip!

alexva said...

If you don't perform you have to go. He has to work on holding runners and speeding up his delivery and pace. You can't do that on the ML level. I want him bettter and back soon.

alexva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Joyce said...

I don't disagree with them sending the guy down, but the club just needs to do a better job handling its people. No one saw this coming in the clubhouse. Not sure how that can be the case, but it is.

I don't see Mike Rizzo making many friends around baseball sicne he became GM, and if you're going to be prickly in this world you had better perform. Mike has spent a lot of money on this club and they are not playing well. He's got 1 year on his contract. Like alexva just said, if you don't perform you have to go. If the losing continues and Ted calls Mike into his office for a late in the day meeting, if I were Mike, I'd be nervous.

Sec. 1D 10T, My Sofa said...

No one saw this coming in the clubhouse. Not sure how that can be the case, but it is.

I, too, find that hard to believe. Even if they don't all read the comments here. They all know who's got options left, don't they?

Scott Margenau said...

Nats up 4-0 , harren pitchmen well, sitting at tiki bar in fenwick island, del. surrounded by phillies and o's fans

Life is good.

JaneB said...

I agree with James. stores has had that straight leg thing from the start. I am glad Rizzo at least copped to the impact the Soriano signing had.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Clip traded.mi hope I am wrong.

SonnyG10 said...

Tcostant said...
Give Clippard a break, he losing his roommate and best friend & I'm sure he listened to Storen many a night how he was done wrong. Total pass for Clip!
July 27, 2013 3:33 PM


Tco, they are former roommates. They live in different appartments now.

SonnyG10 said...

JaneB said...I wouldn't be surprised to see Clip traded.mi hope I am wrong.
July 27, 2013 4:19 PM


I hope you're wrong also Jane. I would be surprised if he's traded.

If Storen gets himself together and straighten out his mechanics, I wouldn't be surprised to see him back up fairly quickly. Davey has said as much.

5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 said...

Storens's ERA was 6 for christ's sake. The dude just didn't have it this year. How anyone can look at the situation and justifiably think it was a bad idea is beyond me. This was a long time coming. I would love to see the Nat's trade him while he has value.

5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 said...

Storens's ERA was 6 for christ's sake. The dude just didn't have it this year. How anyone can look at the situation and justifiably think it was a bad idea is beyond me. This was a long time coming. I would love to see the Nat's trade him while he has value.

DaveBinMD said...

@SonnyG10: Storen dropped the 'stiff-leg' delivery once, entering the 2011 season, but newly arrived Jayson Werth convinced him to go back to it because as a former opponent, Werth said he and others (presumably on the Phillies) found it distracting to hit against him because of it (though you'd never know it by Werth's results vs. Storen). Storen said: "That kind of feedback is invaluable", and went back to. Agreed though that he can't do it with runners on-base.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I agree with James, JaneB et al. Changing Storen's leg kick at this stage of the game is risky. I think it's more a confidence game with Drew. I personally don't see him coming back with this club. Besides that, his fastball has straightened out and just isn't all that overpowering without that late movement. His slider is a home run ball when it's up over the plate. If he were a car, I'd write: "Totaled."

We lost a lot more than a game with that Game 5.

D'Gourds said...

Remember Byun Yun Kim (Sp)? Like Kim, Storen may never recover from game 5. However, that is exactly why Rizzo was justified in signing a proven closer. We were picked to win the WS. Why wouldn't he get a top shelf closer? I'm surprised it took him so long to demote Storen. I'm surprised it took him so long to demote Espinosa! We were contenders. Rizzo waited too long for them to figure it out and it resulted in many lost games. The majors isn't the place for young players to hone their wayward mechanics, be it arm slot, flying open or how to hit left handed. I'm blown away when I read your comments about how Rizzo and Davey didn't give them a chance. The had far too many chances. Go to AAA, fix your mechanics, gain confidence in your fix, and come back up. This is nothing new. You've got to be tough to succeed in the majors. Be a man and stop whining like a baby. Perform and play or fail and get demoted. Make the adjustment and come back up. That simple.

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