White Sox expected to claim Jim Thome on waivers

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Buster Olney says that there is “a high expectation” that the White Sox will win the waiver claim on Jim Thome. Which, given that they’re the (marginal) contender in the AL with the worst record, makes sense.  I guess Shin-Soo Choo’s dramatic home run yesterday ruined it for the Indians. Pity!

Thome is batting .253/.363/.495 with 12 homers in 234 plate appearances this season.  If the White Sox do claim him and can work out a trade, I presume Adam Dunn will suddenly suffer an “injury” of some sort to free up a roster spot.

In other news, I am going to introduce a resolution this morning that the an AL Central logo be created and that it’s primary feature be a portrait of a smiling Jim Thome.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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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.