ESPN’s Buster Olney is among those who believe Ryan Dempster made his final Cubs start Saturday, when he extended his scoreless-inning streak to 33.
The Cubs might be in more of a hurry to move Dempster not just because his value is at a high point but also to help clear the way for a Matt Garza deal at the end of the month. If Dempster is already off the market, it could conceivably lead to more demand for Garza, who has increased value because he’s under control for 2013.
ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine says 10 teams are showing interest in Dempster, including the Braves, Dodgers, Indians, Tigers, White Sox and Yankees. Levine reports that, beyond young pitching, the Cubs would like to pick up a third-base prospect in a deal. The Tigers, with Nick Castellanos, could best fulfill the Cubs’ wishes there, though it’s unlikely they’d give him up for Dempster. Likewise, it seems doubtful the Indians would surrender Lonnie Chisenhall in return for Dempster.
Dempster is 5-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 92 innings this season. Since he’s spent 10 years in the league and five with the Cubs, he can veto any trade. However, he is expected to approve a deal.
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.