When the Reds signed Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal with a club option last week, it left Francisco Cordero without a logical landing spot to close ballgames in 2012. However, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun is hearing that the Orioles have expressed interest in the veteran right-hander.
Cordero, who turns 37 in May, posted a 2.45 ERA and 37 saves last season in Cincinnati, but also averaged just 5.4 K/9 and saw his fastball velocity dip to a career-low 93 mph. While he induced ground balls 50 percent of the time and had his lowest walk rate since 2007, the American League East isn’t exactly the best environment for his decline phase.
Recent reports have suggested that Jim Johnson is the front-runner to close games for the Orioles this season, but the possible addition of Cordero could perhaps put him back in the mix for a rotation spot. Former closer Kevin Gregg is still under contract for $5.8 million this season, but Connolly hears that the O’s would be willing to eat some of his salary in a potential trade. Gregg is coming off a season where he posted a 4.37 ERA and an ugly 53/40 K/BB ratio over 59 2/3 innings, so it’s difficult to envision many teams lining up for his services, even at a discounted rate.
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.