UPDATE: The Cubs got him.
12:31 PM: The Jorge Soler derby is entering the home stretch and one horse has dropped out: the Dodgers. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that L.A. is out of the bidding.
That leaves the Cubs and Yankees as the front runners. Today Jon Heyman said the Blue Jays were “said” to be interested too. There was some chatter about the Braves being in on Soler last week, but really, Liberty Media needs seventeen meetings and a feasibility study to decide if it’s going to go with regular or splurge for heavy weight paper for its letterhead, so I kinda doubt that the Braves will spend the $25 million Soler is expected to command.
Also: will someone affiliated with the AP, Getty or Reuters please track this guy down and take his picture? I’m sorta tired of going with the Cuban flag.
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.