Despite a regime change that included his friend Jim Hendry being let go as general manager Kerry Wood still wants to stay with the Cubs.
Wood, who passed up bigger offers to sign a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Chicago last offseason, said yesterday on Comcast SportsNet Chicago that he liked the move to hire Theo Epstein and “we plan on getting together and talking a little bit and we just go from there.”
Wood threw 51 innings with a 3.35 ERA and 57/21 K/BB ratio this season, so assuming he’s willing to re-sign for a similarly below-market rate there’s really no reason for Epstein and company not to welcome him back. Wood has made it very clear that he wants to retire a Cub and they can certainly use a cheap and still very effective setup man.
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.