It’s bad enough that MLB’s home run records have been tainted by performance-enhancing drugs. Now we have no choice but to wonder exactly what Joey Gathright was on when he was jumping over cars way back when.
MLB announced today that Gathright was suspended for 50 games for amphetamine usage. Yeah, the guy who stole as many as 69 bases in a minor league season was busted for speed.
The 31-year-old Gathright was last seen playing for the independent Bridgeport Bluefish. He also played in 40 games for the Reds’ Triple-A Louisville affiliate earlier this year, hitting .299/.346/.347 in 147 at-bats. His suspension will take effect if he ever signs with an affiliated club in the future.
Gathright was viewed as a very good prospect back in the day. He had no power at all, but he hit .334 and .331 in his first full minor league seasons and then came in at .305/.388/.407 in his first stint in Triple-A as a 24-year-old in 2005. It never translated to the majors, though. In 1,175 major league at-bats, he hit .263/.328/.303 with one homer and 81 steals.
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.