The Nationals manager may be 69 years-old, but if Danny Espinosa can’t play, it’s go-time:
This spring, Johnson brought a cup and jock strap. It’s hanging up in his locker right now … On Tuesday, a representatives from Dinger bats came through the Nationals clubhouse. Johnson sat down with him and asked, “Do you guys make any B267s?” … He asked for 34 inches, 32 ounces. When it arrives, Johnson will have a full set of playing gear.
Sadly, however, Johnson said that he wouldn’t don the cup because “I’ve been waiting to get in a little better shape.” So sadly he is not in … The Best Shape of His Life. Or at least those parts of him for which he needs the cup are not.
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.