Ken Rosenthal’s latest notes column contains an item in which scouts are going on about how Pirates’ starter Charlie Morton has totally restructured his windup and delivery to be exactly like Roy Halladay’s:
“Roy Halladay now has an absolute clone on the Pittsburgh Pirates,” one rival scout says. “Morton has copied his windup perfectly, from the way he starts to the way he finishes. It’s almost identical.”
I haven’t seen Morton pitch so far this year, so I’ll withhold judgment. I’ll note, however, that while Morton is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts, he also has a grand total of six strikeouts in 22 innings. And 12 walks. Halladay had 30 walks all of last season in 33 starts.
Maybe the new windup will bring forth Roy Halladay-like results for Morton. Then again, maybe it will have about the same effect that getting the Jennifer Aniston haircut had on all of those women who got it back in 1995: superficial resemblance, but still one hell of a difference.
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.