The Rangers were trying to get Oswalt even after they landed Lee

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We knew that the Rangers were interested in Oswalt, but we didn’t realize he was this interested: according to Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers re-visited earlier talks with the Astros regarding Roy Oswalt after acquiring Cliff Lee.

There was no way it was going to happen — it was hard enough for them to take on the relatively minor money owed Lee, so putting Oswalt’s contract on top of that was a non-starter — but they pursued it anyway, Rosenthal says.

Animating the apparently hopeless pursuit of Oswalt? Nolan Ryan is simply fixated on the guy.  That’s what a little bird told me anyway. Ryan sees a lot of himself in Oswalt, both as a pitcher and as a guy in general, and has long wanted Oswalt to play for him.  Crushes die hard, ya know?

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.