Aaron Rowand on NLCS roster, Barry Zito likely off

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The Giants haven’t officially announced their roster for the NLCS against the Phillies — Bruce Bochy plans to speak with his players later tonight — but some early pieces are starting to fall into place.

According to Andrew Baggarly of San Jose Mercury News, Bochy just announced that Aaron Rowand will be on the roster. Rowand was also on the roster during the NLDS against the Braves and went 1-for-2 with a strikeout.

Meanwhile, Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes that it “looks like” Barry Zito will be left off the Giants’ roster for a second straight round. Madison Bumgarner is currently installed as the team’s fourth starter, so the high-priced left-hander would have only pitched out of the bullpen. It’s not a given, though. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Zito or Dan Runzler, another left-hander, could still replace Guillermo Mota on the roster against the lefty-heavy Phillies. Stay tuned.

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.