Manny Ramirez officially reinstated from voluntary retirement list

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Let the bidding war begin. OK, not really.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, Manny Ramirez has been officially reinstated by MLB from the voluntary retirement list.

We learned last weekend that Ramirez was planning a comeback. While he was initially expected to serve a 100-game suspension for a second positive test related to performance-enhancing drugs, MLB has ruled that since he sat out nearly the entire 2011 season, he’ll instead serve a 50-game penalty. However, the clock on his suspension won’t begin until he actually signs with a team.

There predictably hasn’t been much interest in Ramirez thus far, which could be why he has reportedly resorted to calling teams directly. The 39-year-old is currently working out in South Florida hoping to get a spring training invite somewhere.

Ramirez currently ranks 14th on the all-time list with 555 career home runs.

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.