Drew Storen saved his third consecutive game last night, tying him with Chad Cordero's 2007 total for the second-most saves in Nationals history (37). He's coming to the end of a tremendous first year as the Nationals' closer, and yet, there will probably be more rumors this winter like the ones that cropped up this summer, referencing the chance the Nationals trade him to get a center fielder or a veteran starter.
It seems less likely the Nationals will trade Storen than it did in July (they're giving Jayson Werth a look in center field, and might not have room for another outfielder with Michael Morse and Bryce Harper in the long-term picture), but that's not the main point I'd like to discuss at the moment. That point, namely, is what the Nationals would do with Tyler Clippard if they somehow parted with Storen.
Some of you have asked if the Nationals would consider making Clippard a closer someday, and while he could probably do the job - he's said he's interested in closing, and he certainly wouldn't face any more pressure than he has this year - that's probably not where he's most valuable. He's excelled in the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency role he's been in this year; in fact, he's probably been more valuable to the Nationals than Storen has.
Clippard's Win Probability Added (WPA) of 5.36 is the best of any reliever in baseball; essentially, he's added more than five wins to the Nationals' total by doing what he did last night, pitching in tough situations and keeping the Nationals in front in a close game. Storen's WPA of 2.41 is also impressive - in fact, it's the 15th-best mark in baseball - but it's no stretch to say he wouldn't have 37 saves on a 70-win team with a mediocre offense if not for Clippard, whose clutch score of 1.53 is tops among National League relievers.
In fact, in the unlikely event the Nationals dealt Storen this winter, I'd argue they should sign another closer and leave Clippard where he is (Matt Capps could be available for a reunion of the original Clip-and-Save this winter). There are plenty of veterans available, but what Clippard has done this year is more valuable than if he was a one-trick pony in the ninth inning.
Now, saying all this, there's always the possibility that Clippard could go back to what he was doing last year, struggling with inherited runners and getting burned on fly balls. He's likely to get a big raise this winter in arbitration, and there are plenty of people who think he's likely to break down from the 232 1/3 innings he's worked since 2009.
But if he keeps doing what he's doing, there's absolutely no reason to take him out of that role, whether it's Storen or somebody else following him.