Earl Weaver: 1930-2013

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Sad news to pass along from Baltimore, as MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko reports that Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver passed away last night. He was 82 years old.

An iconic figure with the Orioles, Weaver compiled a 1,480-1,060 record over 17 seasons as the team’s manager. This included stints from 1968-1982 and from 1985-1986. Known for his unique wit and progressive baseball strategy, Weaver led the club to six American League East titles, four pennants and a World Series title in 1970.

Weaver is 22nd all-time in managerial wins and ninth all-time in winning percentage. His fiery personality often led to some legendary arguments with umpires. Only Bobby Cox and John McGraw were ejected in more games.

Weaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 while his No. 4 is one of six numbers retired by the Orioles. He was present last June when the Orioles unveiled a statue with his likeness at Camden Yards.

So long to a true baseball legend.

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.