Two executives from clubs that have inquired about Cliff Lee tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that the Mariners are willing to move the left-hander “immediately” for the right offer.
This particular piece of information didn’t grab me right away either, because I would think any team should be willing to do that, but Rosenthal adds that one executive predicts the Mariners will move Lee “in 7 to 10 days, following a timetable similar to the one the Indians used when they traded left-hander CC Sabathia to the Brewers on July 7, 2008.”
The logic is simple. Trading him now could maximize his return, save a larger portion of his remaining $9 million salary and avoid the risk of Lee suffering an injury that could diminish his trade value.
Rosenthal reports that the Mets, Dodgers and Rangers have inquired about Lee, while the Twins are viewed as the front-runner and the Yankees are more likely to pursue him in free agency.
We’ll obviously know pretty quickly if there’s anything to Rosenthal’s sources, but anytime he does a story about Lee, my ears perk up. Remember, he was the one who floated that “three-way trade” rumor involving Lee last December, even though it was presented as a hypothetical.
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.