Yunel Escobar, who took a knee to the helmet while sliding into third base yesterday, has been diagnosed with a “mild concussion” following a CAT scan and other tests last night and this morning.
That would seemingly make him an ideal candidate to be placed on the new seven-day disabled list for concussions that MLB instituted last month, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters that “we don’t think he’ll be out that long.”
Escobar has been cleared to travel with the team and Anthopoulos indicated that he could return to the lineup as soon as early next week, but the intent of the seven-day DL was seemingly to more easily convince teams to shut down players like Escobar rather than risking anything by having them return too soon.
Even if the Blue Jays think he’ll be ready to return to the lineup in, say, four days, why not just play it safe and let him take the seven days off? And if they aren’t interested in doing that, then how much of an impact will the seven-day DL really make?
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.