Tigers “have been in contact” with free agent Aramis Ramirez

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In addition to their reported interest in Mark Buehrle the Tigers “have been in contact with the agent for” Aramis Ramirez, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.

Beck writes that “there are no negotiations going on” and the two sides haven’t talked since early this month, but adds that Thanksgiving may have played a part in the recent lack of dialogue.

Brandon Inge is still under contract for $5.5 million in 2012 with a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout in 2013, but the Tigers have already shown that they’re willing to bench the 34-year-old third baseman and Ramirez would be a massive upgrade offensively.

He’d also be a massive downgrade defensively, but with Inge coming off a .197 batting average and Ramirez producing an OPS above .850 for the seventh time in eight seasons Detroit would probably be willing to sacrifice glove for bat. Ramirez is 33 years old, but adding him to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez would be a very scary middle of the order.

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.