23-year-old left-hander Danny Duffy complained of elbow tightness following his start April 22 against the Blue Jays.
Kansas City’s solution? An MRI and a precautionary DL stint? It is the team’s youngest starter and a big part of the organization’s future we’re dealing with here.
Nope, the Royals had him skip one start. No tests were scheduled. After Duffy threw a bullpen session without complaint on April 29, he was cleared to pitch May 3.
Duffy made it through that outing and one more. On May 8, he threw 102 pitches in just 4 1/3 innings versus Boston, walking five batters along the way. Five days later, he came out of his outing against the White Sox in the first inning complaining of more elbow soreness.
Only then did the Royals perform the MRI. And now all signs point to him having Tommy John surgery and missing at least the next 12 months.
There’s a very real chance Duffy was going down this path anyway. Still, it makes the Royals look incompetent that it happened the way it did. With so many good reasons to be proactive, the Royals sent Duffy right back to the mound. And now he’s probably not going to be a real asset for them until 2014, if ever.
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.