Nationals to designate right-hander Yunesky Maya for assignment

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The Nationals thought they were getting a potential rotation staple when they signed Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya to a four-year, $6 million deal back in 2010, but they are now prepared to turn the page.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, the Nationals will designate Maya for assignment in order to make room for infielder Jeff Kobernus on the active roster. The 31-year-old right-hander was called up from Triple-A Syracuse this week when the Nationals needed a fresh arm for their bullpen and allowed the walkoff homer to Pablo Sandoval on Tuesday night.

The Nationals haven’t gotten much bang for their buck out of Maya, as he owns a disappointing 5.80 ERA and 27/21 K/BB ratio in 59 innings in the majors and a 4.41 ERA over 63 starts in the minors. Because of his salary, he’ll almost certainly pass through waivers unclaimed, but the Nationals will have the option to send him back to their rotation at Triple-A or cut him loose.

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.