Vladimir Guerrero has missed the past two weeks with a small fracture in his right hand and had a measly .385 slugging percentage in 83 games before the injury, so naturally the Orioles have him batting cleanup tonight in his return from the disabled list.
Obviously the Orioles aren’t overflowing with fantastic cleanup-hitting options, but using Guerrero there is just silly at this point. Not only has he been punchless this season, the 36-year-old’s struggles date back to the middle of last season as well.
Since last year’s All-Star break Guerrero has hit .278 with a .318 on-base percentage and .404 slugging percentage in 142 games, totaling just 16 homers and 25 walks in 610 trips to the plate. To put that in some context, consider that Greg Dobbs has hit .267 with a .312 on-base percentage and .409 slugging percentage for his career.
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.