Sign Strasburg, lose your job

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That’s what Gordon Edes is reporting, anyway:

Multiple sources insisted Tuesday that the Nationals are on the verge of announcing that Arizona Diamondbacks
vice president Jerry DiPoto is about to be named Nationals GM,
replacing [Mike] Rizzo, who has been interim GM since replacing Jim Bowden
earlier this season.

We all knew the Nats were looking, but it seemed like Rizzo was doing an OK job.  He reportedly has a good relationship with Boras, which helped with the Strasburg signing, and which could help with Bryce Harper next year, whom the Nats currently stand poised to pick.  He also made some decent moves during the season in picking up Nyjer Morgan, who has proved useful and popular, and unloading Nick Johnson. Sure, the Nats remain terrible, but there’s hope there, and a lot of that hope is based on moves Rizzo has made, either as GM or as scouting director. Frankly, I’m rather surprised that they’re not going to stick with him. 

But maybe the most surprising thing in all of this is one of the guys who was reportedly on the Nats’ short list: ESPN’s Steve Phillips. According to Edes, ”
he told associates he had no interest because of his job at ESPN.” If the Nats were seriously considering Phillips — as opposed to this being something Phillips was simply floating through is “associates” to make himself sound like a viable candidate — then it shows the Lerners’ terrible judgment and thus passing over Rizzo is understandable.

If true, it also means that we were this close to being able to watch Sunday night baseball again with the sound on.  Bummer.

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.