Orioles reach last-second, $4.32 million deal with No. 4 pick Kevin Gausman

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No. 4 overall pick Kevin Gausman broke the news himself via Twitter right at the 5:00 p.m. signing deadline, as the LSU right-hander announced that he agreed to a last-second deal with the Orioles.

Earlier this week Gausman’s hometown New Orleans Times Picayune reported that he’d be turning down the Orioles and going back to LSU for his senior season, but they quickly backtracked on that story and he ended up getting $4.32 million compared to the slot value of $4.2 million.

The top pitcher taken in the draft after position players Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, and Mike Zunino went 1-2-3, Gausman should move quickly through the Orioles’ farm system and projects as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter with a mid-90s fastball and plus changeup.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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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.