I bet every single player who is approaching free agency thinks about it. They usually say it doesn’t enter their mind, but it has to, right? Shane Victorino is one of the rare ones who admits that the pressures of impending free agency do weigh on his mind:
“I can’t say they’re not. … I also can’t say they are,” Victorino said. “Is there a little something in the back of my mind, yeah. You want to have your best year.”
He also says that he’d love to stay in Philly and would like to start talks now if possible. That’s not likely to happen — you figure the Phillies will wait and deal with Cole Hamels first — but if Ruben Amaro does see Victorino as someone he wants to keep around long term, it wouldn’t be the worst time to make an offer, would it? Victorino is off to a slow start and could probably be had a bit cheaper now than he might if he turns things around in the second half.
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.