The Angels are in on Cliff Lee too; Rangers to pay him a visit

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It’s not just the Yankees: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Angels — now free from the burden of having to pay Carl Crawford! — are bidding on Cliff Lee.

There’s not a ton of context to this and it’s hard to tell if it’s serious interest or, like Boston’s, merely head games, but the Angels do have some money to spend.  You figure Adrian Beltre is now their biggest target — and their roughly $100M offer to Crawford suggests that Beltre is more doable for them — but Lee wouldn’t be impossible if they’re sufficiently desperate.

In other Lee news, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Rangers are sending a delegation to Little Rock today to meet with Cliff Lee and his agent, Darek Braunecker, who decamped Orlando yesterday. One wonders — based on what Nolan Ryan said last night — if this meeting will be a “we want to leave with you signed. Tell us what you want and we’ll do it now; if not, we’re out” kind of meeting.

The Yankees have to have this in the bag, though.  With Boston adding $300 million in talent in the past four days, New York has to unleash a counter attack, right? Because this is war, and that’s what you do in a war.

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.