Showing decreased velocity led to Rafael Perez being placed on the disabled list with a strained shoulder muscle in late April and yesterday the Indians transferred the left-hander to the 60-day DL, which means he’s not eligible to return until the end of June.
Perez was initially expected to miss 4-6 weeks, but now he’ll miss at least eight weeks and general manager Chris Antonetti danced around whether the reliever has experienced a setback in his recovery when asked by Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Perez has quietly been one of the top left-handed relievers in the league since debuting in 2006, throwing 329 innings with a 3.64 ERA and 268/117 K/BB ratio, but he’s steadily lost velocity on his fastball and was working in the mid-80s before being shut down.
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.