Brandon Webb’s recovery from shoulder surgery has progressed so slowly that he’s gone from hoping to be healthy for the second half to hoping to make at least one start in September to now talking about possibly having to participate in instructional leagues just to get some work in.
Here’s what Webb told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com about the possibility:
I’ve thought about that. I haven’t talked to anyone about it yet. It could make sense. It’s a controlled environment and it’s a way to get some innings.
Innings are innings, but one issue is that Webb will be a free agent in a few weeks and at that point he’s no longer property of the Diamondbacks, so pitching for their instructional league team (or another affiliated team) seemingly wouldn’t be an option.
Webb is still holding out some hope of making a relief appearance or two yet this season, but Diamondbacks pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. noted that “he’s still a ways away, he’s moving forward but he’s got a ways to go.”
He hasn’t pitched since Opening Day of last season and the former Cy Young winner is now 13 months removed from surgery.
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.