From Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notes column in the Boston Globe:
Mark Prior, RHP, free agent – He will likely attempt one more comeback. He spent some of last season with the Yankees, his rebuilt arm holding up well and getting his velocity into the low 90s. But Prior, who was the Stephen Strasburg of his day, has a new problem. After many weeks of trying to figure out what was wrong with the lower half of his body, he had surgery for a sports hernia, but the problem wasn’t completely corrected. He is working out near his home in San Diego, trying to figure it out. He will likely work out for teams as early as March.
Prior, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Amateur Draft, registered a promising 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 15/4 K/BB ratio across 12 minor league innings last year. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the 2006 season, but he could score a spring training invitation if he’s healthy and throwing well before spring training concludes.
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.