Terry Francona to interview for Indians’ manager job next week

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We heard confirmation yesterday that Terry Francona is indeed a candidate for the Indians manager job and is expected interview in the near future. Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 in Cleveland has the latest update on the situation.

There’s some question about whether the Indians will offer Francona enough money to leave his broadcasting job at ESPN and there’s also the matter of managing a rebuilding team without the big budget of the Red Sox. However, Francona spent the 2001 season as a special assistant to team president Mark Shapiro, who was the GM at the time, so there’s some history here. There’s also only 30 of these jobs to go around and fortunes in the American League Central can change pretty quickly.

Interim manager Sandy Alomar, Jr. is the only other confirmed candidate for the permanent gig. Many consider him the favorite for the job and he’d certainly come cheaper as a first-time skipper.

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.