I didn’t mention this in ATH because I was more interested in the origin of Dan Uggla’s last name, but it’s worth noting that Dodgers prospect Jerry Sands made his major league debut last night and it was good.
Sands had a double in the first inning that may have scored a faster man than James Loney, who was on first at the time. He drove in his first run with a sac fly in the third. The next inning he lost a ball in the lights momentarily but recovered nicely and made the catch. By then the Dodger Stadium crowd was chanting “Jer-ry! Jer-ry!” There hasn’t been a ton to cheer about in that ballpark this season. You could tell they were happy to have a palate cleanser like this.
Sands struck out in his other two at-bats, but that’s OK. It was a good debut. And as he represents an upgrade in talent over Tony Gwynn Jr., the left field job is likely his if his production comes close to meeting that talent.
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.