Yoshinori Tateyama became a free agent in late October when Texas declined his $1.2 million option for 2013, but the 36-year-old reliever is returning to the Rangers on a minor-league contract.
Tateyama pitched well as rookie in 2011 after coming over from Japan, throwing 44 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 43/11 K/BB ratio, but got knocked around in the majors this year and spent most of the season at Triple-A.
His numbers there were very strong, with a 1.13 ERA and 45/7 K/BB ratio in 40 innings, so the Rangers did well to keep him in the organization as bullpen depth and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in the majors as a middle reliever.
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.