Bench coach Ken Oberkfell was let go yesterday as part of the Mets’ coaching staff shakeup and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that their list of candidates to replace him includes former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman.
In addition to Riggleman, who stepped down in the middle of the season over a contract dispute, the Mets’ bench coach search is also said to include former A’s manager Bob Geren, former Mariners manager John McLaren, and former Phillies manager Larry Bowa.
Terry Collins has already had his contract option for 2013 picked up, so as of now his job security seems pretty strong, but pursuing four different former big-league managers as his bench coach would at the very least put a potential replacement in the same dugout.
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.