Better question — Can Papelbon and anyone co-exist? The Nationals had a good thing going with Storen closing to start the year. It was really only the rest of the terrible bullpen that prompted the trade for a second closer. The front office felt it could easily slide Storen up an inning. On paper, that works great, but the move did not sit well with Storen. His performance declined almost immediately. Storen’s season ended after he smashed his hand into a locker in frustration after yet another loss. Papelbon wasn’t much better after coming over from Philadelphia, and by now, there’s no point re-hashing his epically bad final two weeks of the season.
The Nationals got greedy in trading for Papelbon when there were several very good setup options on the trade market. The front office went for the home run swing in acquiring Papelbon, but struck out miserably. The Nationals are committed, at least for the time being, to keeping both closers. Part of the trade agreement with Papelbon stipulated that he would close. With a full offseason to prepare himself to accept a different role, Storen should be able to bounce back.