Phillies trade reliever Michael Schwimer to Blue Jays

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Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies have traded right-handed reliever Michael Schwimer to the Blue Jays for minor league first baseman Art Charles.

Schwimer, who turned 27 earlier this week, has a 4.62 ERA and 52/23 K/BB ratio over 48 2/3 innings in the big leagues. He made 35 appearances with the Phillies last season and found himself in the middle of a controversy in August when he refused to report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after claiming that he was injured. He eventually reported and the MLBPA later investigated the matter, but it’s not clear if a grievance was ever filed against the Phillies.

While Schwimer could turn out to be a useful middle reliever for the Blue Jays, Charles isn’t much of a prospect. The 22-year-old has a .239/.358/.482 batting line over three seasons in the minors and has never played above Low-A. While he has some pop, he has struck out in 30 percent of his plate appearances.

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.