Two weeks ago the Mets signed reliever Frank Francisco to a two-year, $12 million contract.
Today they finally announced the move, officially adding Francisco to the 40-man roster.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News joked that perhaps Francisco’s physical exam took 14 days to administer. He does have a pretty lengthy injury history, but realistically the Mets probably just delayed things so a 40-man roster move wasn’t immediately forced upon them.
In years past the Yankees have delayed numerous signings, sometimes for so long it becomes laughable, but if MLB isn’t going to do anything about it the Mets are smart to take advantage. When it comes to marginal players and 40-man roster spots timing often plays as big a role as talent in deciding whether or not they’re snatched up by other teams.
Francisco, who’s expected to be the Mets’ closer, saved 17 games with a 3.55 ERA and 53/18 K/BB ratio in 51 innings for the Blue Jays this past season. He doesn’t fit the “proven closer” mold as much as some other free agents, but that mostly just served to keep his price tag in check and he was one of the best relievers on the market this offseason.
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.