Russell Martin has been in the best shape of his life since 2008

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I thought that Jim Leyland’s claim that Miguel Cabrera was in the best shape of his life was the final nail in the coffin of my favorite spring training cliche.  It seems, however, that Russell Martin is truly the man who took the BSOML meme out back and beat it to death with a large club.

Why? Because as Sam Miller of the OC Register notes, Martin has claimed, in one way or another, to be in the best shape of his life for four years running. But click through for the graphs Sam added and you realize that it may very well be that getting in shape is the worst thing that ever happened to Martin.  Either that or he has used BSOML to mask quickly eroding baseball skills.

Naw, no one would ever do that, would they?

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.