The Orioles signed Endy Chavez to a one-year, $1.5 million contract over the winter to serve as a fourth outfielder, but he was designated for assignment this afternoon in order to make room for the promotion of former All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth.
Chavez was a big disappointment with the Orioles this season, batting just .190/.222/.281 with two home runs, eight RBI, two stolen bases and a .503 OPS in 129 plate appearances. The 33-year-old has served stints on the disabled list due to hamstring and oblique injuries. Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the O’s are now exploring possible trades for the veteran outfielder.
McLouth was granted his release by the Pirates at the end of May after batting just .140 (8-for-57) in 34 games. The 30-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Orioles a few days later and batted .244/.325/.461 with 10 homers and a .786 OPS in 47 games during his time with Triple-A Norfolk. According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, McLouth’s contract included an out-clause if he wasn’t promoted to the majors by Saturday. He’s starting in left field and batting seventh tonight against the Rays.
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.