UPDATE: Rosenthal confirms that Johnson is retiring. He also notes that Johnson is moving his conference call to 7 P.M. tonight so as not to interfere with the Hall of Fame announcement tomorrow.
3:49 P.M.: Several baseball writers have tweeted that Randy Johnson has announced a conference call tomorrow. My guess is that he’s not doing it to announce that he’s accepted a make-good deal with the Diamondbacks or something.
Aside from the curious timing — dude, the Hall of Fame announcements are happening tomorrow — this is probably good news. Johnson is leaving with his legacy untarnished and will no doubt be joining those Hall of Famers the very first year he is eligible to do so.
UPDATE: Jim Bowden has some advice regarding Johnson’s timing: “Randy Johnson- please don’t pull a Kanye West.”
For what it’s worth, Johnson doesn’t appear to enjoy media attention too much. In light of this It wouldn’t surprise me if his thinking was “hey, if I do this tomorrow, maybe it will get lost in the shuffle and I won’t have to answer too many questions” instead of some “hey, look at me grab the spotlight from the Hall of Famers!” Still, if I were him I’d do it Thursday.
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.