A profile of Davey Johnson in today’s Baltimore Sun. Gotta love Davey, so it’s definitely worth a read.
Johnson, as you probably know, is now a special assistant to Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo. And unlike so many special assistant jobs out there, his isn’t about glad-handing season ticket holders and stuff — he’s actually contributing substantively. I can’t seem to find it right now, but a few weeks ago it was reported that Johnson is Ian Desmond’s primary champion in NatsLand, and has made it clear to everyone that the kid is too valuable to be used as a super-ute, which is what some have suggested. Whether he has the kind of juice to get Desmond made a starter is an open question, but it’s good that someone has the kid’s back.
I’d be curious to know what kind of input, if any, Johnson had on the Elijah Dukes release. Johnson is no stranger to, how shall I put it, challenging players, so you might expect that if anyone was going to defend the head case it would be him. Then again, maybe Johnson was a primary driver: “Dudes! I know head cases, and this guy is beyond the pale. 86-him!”
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.