The Cubs and Nats are interested in Mark Buehrle

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Actually, a ton of teams will likely be interested in Mark Buehrle because he’s reliable as all get out and may be the best free agent pitching option on the market this year. But at the moment we’re at least getting reports of two clubs with more concrete interest: the Cubs and the Nationals.

According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs could have interest in Mark Buehrle “if the price tag and years aren’t astronomical.”  Which I suppose is relative. But if “astronomical” means something like “near the top of what any pitcher will make in free agency this year,” then no, the Cubs aren’t going to be interested. Buehrle won’t make CC Sabathia money, but he’s going to do well.

Likewise Adam Kigore of the Washington Post wrote yesterday that “some individuals with ties to the Nationals believe they will pursue Buehrle.”

Now is probably a good time to remember that, like the astronomical-or-not nature of Buehrle’s next contract, the term “concrete” when used in connection the hot stove season is relative as well.

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.