Bob Brenly: robot umps now

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He didn’t actually use those words, but I kinda wish he did because I have a lot of fun with the “robot umps now” thing on Twitter. But Brenly does tell Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he thinks the game is too fast, the technology is too good and the calls are too important for baseball to put up with continuing to miss them:

“We’ve got a QuesTec system or whatever they call it now (Pitch-f/x) that’s foolproof. You’re going to get every pitch correct. … I just think in any sport, especially this sport, any time you can eliminate mistakes, whether it’s with technology or different positioning or whatever you can do, I think we owe it to the game to do it.”

…The way Brenly sees it, using the technology available shouldn’t slow the game down. In fact, it might speed things up.

“We sit up in the booth every night and a play happens, and within 15 seconds we know whether it was right or wrong,” he said.

I think he’s right generally. My understanding of QuesTec and similar technology, however, is that it’s not instantaneous and that, as such, you couldn’t exactly go to robot ball and strikes calls now unless you feel like waiting several seconds to hear what each pitch was.

But he’s not wrong about the direction of technology and that fact that we can get most of the calls right now if we wanted to.  Baseball just doesn’t want to.

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.