Just in case there was any doubt that Zack Greinke had run out of patience with losing, Royals general manager Dayton Moore told reporters yesterday that the club tried to engage him in talks for a long-term contract extension, but their efforts were rebuffed (via Matthew Leach and Dick Kaegel of MLB.com):
“We would love to be sitting here discussing a long-term contract with Zack Greinke,” Moore said. “You want to hold on to your best players forever. That’s a formula for winning championships, as well. But there has to be a willing partner to go forward with that. We actually went down that trail and discussed that trail with Zack long-term, and it was apparent that that wasn’t something that he wanted to do.”
Greinke actually signed a four-year, $38 million extension with the Royals in January of last year. It was a huge commitment on the part of the Royals at the time — remember, Greinke was a little over two years removed from missing most of the 2006 season due to an anxiety condition — but keep in mind that without that extension, he would have been a free agent this winter. Could you imagine what kind of salary he would have commanded in this environment?
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.