The Angels finalized a one-year free agent contract with Ryan Madson on Wednesday afternoon and intend to use him at closer. Which leads us here:
According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Angels “were letting clubs know today” that 25-year-old right-hander Jordan Walden is available through a trade.
Walden served as the Angels’ primary closer during the 2011 season, converting 32 saves alongside a superb 2.98 ERA. He took a backseat to Ernesto Frieri in 2012 but still posted decent numbers in a setup role and currently boasts a 3.06 career ERA in over 114 total major league innings.
The Halos are probably open to a range of different types of return packages. They need reliable starting pitching, but it’s doubtful that a guy like Walden will be able to fetch that.
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.