Joe Saunders is in The Best — and the sexiest — Shape of His Life

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Ladies and gentlemen, Indians team president Mark Shapiro:

No idea what you mean, Mark.

Anyway: They keep on coming, so we keep passing them along. This one: Joe Saunders of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Part of it is pretty conventional:

[Saunders] was a regular at the D-backs’ training facility at Salt River Fields, with help and encouragement from strength and conditioning coach Nate Shaw. “Not only is it a big year for me, but it is a big year for the team. I wanted to come up here and see what I could do for myself. I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in heading into a spring training”

But there’s also a hint of TMI for those interested:

The experience of being temporarily on the job market made him stronger and wiser — and maybe even a little bit sexier.

“My wife said my butt has gotten a little bit smaller,” Saunders said with a smile, the result of all the extra work he has done to prepare for this season and beyond.

Try to get that out of your mind as you watch Saunders pitch this year, sports fans.

Games start a week from Friday, people. I predict the BSOHL stuff will dry up by then. But for now, we don’t have much more to go with.

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.