Sizemore to bat No. 2 this season

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Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com passes along news from SportsTime Ohio (STO) that Grady Sizemore will bat No. 2 this season and Asdrubal Cabrera will lead off.

According to the STO report, new manager Manny Acta told Sizemore that the decision was made in order to take advantage of his power and run producing ability. He told Sizemore the Indians could get much more out of him this way since he bats roughly 150 times without anybody on base out of the No. 1 spot. Anybody who reads this blog knows that we’re a fan of Acta’s sabermetric leanings, although it didn’t lead to success in Washington.

Sizemore, who underwent surgeries to repair his left elbow and abdominal wall last September, had 109 at-bats out of the two-spot last season, but has been the primary leadoff hitter for Cleveland since the 2005 season. 2753 of his 3131 career at-bats have come out of the No. 1 spot in the order.

Cabrera isn’t exactly the on-base machine that Sizemore is, but he’s close, posting on-base percentages of .354 (2007), .346 (2008) and .361 (2009) over his first three seasons in the majors. He put together a .301/.340/.459 batting line in 131 at-bats out of the leadoff spot last season while Sizemore battled injuries and ineffectiveness.

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.