We talked relics in the last post. An autograph is kind of like a relic too, but it’s way higher up the list, at least if it’s obtained in person. And the circumstances around getting that autograph matter too. If you pay a bunch of money to have some flunky take your baseball card from you, hand it to Former All-Star Player, sitting 10 feet away, it gets signed and is given back to you, well, not so special.
If, however, you’ve spent the past 70 years of your life worshiping baseball and then travel from Venezuela to Chicago for the specific purpose of meeting Omar Vizquel, who then shares some warm words with you while he’s on the diamond getting ready for the game, well, that’s a way more special relic.
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.