Yes, the Rockies can do worse than Hurdle

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As if things weren’t bad enough in Colorado, the Rockies have gone and replaced the mediocre Clint Hurdle with the incompetent Jim Tracy.

Tracy’s resume includes a 562-572 record, which is exactly the kind of
near-.500 record the Rockies have aspired to achieve in most of their
years in existence. He got that record by taking the NL West’s most
talented team in the Dodgers to the postseason once in five years.
After being let go by Los Angeles, he quickly landed the job in
Pittsburgh and went 135-189 in two seasons before being ousted.

Tracy plays favorites, as Chris Duffy and Nate McLouth can attest.
He loves his smallball, regardless of the composition of this team. In
2003, his Dodgers got a combined .242/.300/.317 line out of their top
two hitters, who combined to score 150 runs all season. When Hee Seop
Choi thrived as a No. 2 hitter in 2005, Tracy refused to leave him
there, going to such players as Oscar Robles, Jason Repko and Antonio
Perez instead.

Bullpen management, at least, looked like a strength early in
Tracy’s career. However, he never got a whole lot out of a Pittsburgh
pen that featured Matt Capps, Salomon Torres, John Grabow, Damaso Marte
and Mike Gonzalez for the first year.

If the Rockies fail to turn it around, Tracy’s stay could be a short
one. GM Dan O’Dowd has to be on a short leash now, and if the Rockies
make a change there over the winter, the new GM will likely want to
bring in a manager of his own.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.