Cla Meredith’s bid to win a bullpen spot after signing a minor-league contract with the Nationals was delayed right away by elbow soreness and now, after his surgically repaired elbow checked out fine, the side-arming reliever tweaked his back during fielding drills today.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Meredith had to be taken off the field in a golf cart, which either isn’t a good sign or means he’s one of the Mets’ owners.
Meredith has been a solid middle reliever throughout his career, posting good numbers despite a fastball that tops out in the high-80s because his side-arm delivery is very tough on right-handed hitters and he induces a ton of ground balls. He has a 3.62 ERA in 283 career innings, but struggled last season before having bone chips removed from his elbow and is no sure thing to earn a job with the Nationals even if healthy.
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.