Thanks, HBT readers

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I’m back in my fortified compound on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio.  For the first time in a week I’m operating on a respectable night’s sleep. The Winter Meetings are fantastic, but they have to end sometime. Baseball writers aren’t exactly rock stars when it comes to this sort of thing, so if the meetings didn’t end everyone would simply die.

But we survived.  Frankly, I’m not sure how Gleeman, Pouliot, Silva and Short did. They posted about eleventeen hundred things since Monday while I was being a relative slacker. Can’t wait for the disability claims for the carpal tunnel (note: don’t tell those guys we’re going to deny the claims because of some waiver they didn’t know they signed).

And I’ll be damned if you guys didn’t read all of those posts. The last four days were, by far, the biggest four days in the history of HBT in terms of site traffic. You like us, you really like us, and we’re as grateful as we can be that you come back here to get your baseball fix.

Thanks, HBT readers.  You’re the best.

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.