With Justin Upton circulating in trade rumors once again, many have speculated that the Rangers could be a perfect fit. We’re still in the early days of the Hot Stove, so things could change in a hurry, but a deal appears unlikely right now.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Rangers aren’t willing to include Elvis Andrus or top prospect Jurickson Profar in a swap for Upton. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported this morning that the Diamondbacks don’t love Mike Olt as a centerpiece of a deal and would prefer Andrus or Profar, so unless somebody eventually blinks, the two clubs won’t be a match.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic caught up with Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers tonight, who said that he’s in “no rush” to make a deal and doesn’t expect to make a trade for a frontline starting pitcher, “even in an Upton deal.” This would seem to indicate that he’s targeting a third baseman or shortstop.
Upton, 25, is set to earn $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25 million in 2014, and $14.5 million in 2015. Andrus, 24, will earn $4.8 million next season and $6.475 million in 2014 before hitting free agency.
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.