Add one more pitcher to the free agent pool

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Not a terribly notable one, though.  It’s Hisanori Takahashi, a 34 year-old lefty from the Yomiuri Giants who has declared free agency and wants to pitch in U.S..

The only things I could find out about the guy is that (a) he had a couple of decent years as a starter a few years ago; (b) he has been a swingman since then; (c) he got roughed up in his last outing in the Japan Series; and (d) he “got a Yomiuri batter’s foul ball on his face in his bench on a day the first half of 2006 and he got out of games.”  Yes, that last bit came via a blog post that was translated from Japanese.  If someone has an English language scouting report on this guy, they dug really really deep to find it.

Because he’s a lefty there will probably always be a place for a fellow like Takahashi, though given his resume and his age, his posting fee probably won’t buy you fare from Shinjuku to Moto-yawata on the leaf green line of the Toei.

Wait, what

(photo via a Creative Commons license via Flickr)

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.