Back in February the White Sox and Frank Thomas began a nice reproachment when it was announced that the team would be retiring his number. That’s going to happen on August 29th.
Today they’ve added that Thomas will officially become a team “ambassador” which, while mostly a PR position, represents a nice coming together of baseball’s most inexplicably underrated hitter of all time and the club where he spent most of his productive years.
I like this, not because I care that much about the White Sox or Frank Thomas’ career path, but because I’m really worried — as was Aaron back in February — that the writers are going to unfairly discount Frank Thomas’ massive accomplishments as a hitter when he comes up for a Hall of Fame vote in a few years. They’ll dismiss him because he was a DH. They may also dismiss him because they decided at some point that he was surly and difficult, though they’ll probably not say that out loud.
The way I see it, the more closely he works with the White Sox, the less likely it will be that people will think “bad attitude” when they think of Frank Thomas, and that can only be a good thing for his Hall of Fame case.
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.