The investigation into Charlie Samuels takes another interesting turn

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More details have emerged regarding the gambling investigation into Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels. And while I acknowledge that some of the following may be pretty innocent in nature, it doesn’t make them any less curious under the circumstances.

Per the New York Daily News:

According to law enforcement sources close to the probe being conducted by the Queens DA’s office and the NYPD’s Organized Crime and Control Bureau, the probe has revealed that Samuels:

* Received a $50,000 tip from outfielder Jeff Francoeur before Francoeur left the Mets for the World Series-bound Rangers earlier this season;

* Provided Francisco Rodriguez with a place to stay in his home after the closer was ordered by a Queens judge to stay away from his common-law wife following an altercation with her father at Citi Field in August.

* Once received a new Lexus from Mike Piazza, whose father had lost a bet to Samuels on how much weight the elder Piazza could lose.

I have never worked in an MLB locker room, but I would imagine that expensive gifts aren’t something out of the ordinary. As much as we needle Jeff Francoeur here, it would be unfair to jump to conclusions. The most curious part, at least to me, is that Francisco Rodriguez was so down on his luck that he had to shack up with the clubhouse manager. This is a multi-million dollar athlete we’re dealing with here, not Samuel’s cubicle-mate. Just plain odd.

Does any of this mean that Rodriguez was involved in any wrong-doing? Of course not. In fact, sources told the Daily News that Rodriguez is not part of the probe and that there is “no evidence so far that K-Rod did anything wrong, no gambling or anything else.” Still, when you are this close to this many players for so long, the extent of those past relationships will be thoroughly investigated. Just part of the process.

Hey, at least give the Mets credit for consistency. Whenever a story first surfaces about them, it’s just the appetizer for the main course of craziness.

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.