UPDATE: Papelbon and the Sox probably have a deal

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UPDATERob Bradford of WEEI.com is reporting that the Sox and Papelbon have a deal in place for $9 million for 2010.

9:55 A.M.: Or else they’re going to arbitration.  I’d bet on arbitration, as the Sox don’t seem all that interested in a long term deal, and Papelbon is reported to want to “raise the bar” for closers.

How high is that bar going to get set, in arbitration or otherwise?  Hard to say.  Bobby Jenks just signed for $7.5 million.  Brian Fuentes is making $17.5 million over the next two years.  Francisco Cordero, Joe Nathan, Brad Lidge and K-Rod are on deals averaging a bit above or a bit below $12 million. Above that you’re in Mariano Rivera land ($15 million).

Of course, given Papelbon’s general obliviousness, they could probably offer him a raise to, oh, $8 million and tell him that he’s making Mariano Rivera money. He just might believe it.

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.