Cole Hamels is 1-8

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Phillies starter Cole Hamels lost his eighth game this afternoon as he was vastly out-dueled by Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg in the Nats’ 6-1 victory. Hamels allowed five runs (three earned) in 6.1 innings, striking out six and walking one as his ERA was actually lowered to 4.43. The first two months for Hamels have been shocking, reminiscent of his disappointing 2009 season in which he finished with a 4.32 ERA.

Hamels’ eighth loss leads all Major League starters, one ahead of Edwin Jackson and Joe Blanton. It has been an odd year for many assumed top-tier pitchers:

  • Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: 2-2, 5.37 ERA
  • David Price, Rays: 1-4, 5.24 ERA (on the 15-day DL with strained right triceps)
  • Matt Cain, Giants: 3-2, 5.12 ERA
  • Tim Hudson, Braves: 4-3, 4.98 ERA
  • R.A. Dickey, Blue Jays: 4-6, 4.85 ERA
  • Wade Miley, Diamondbacks: 3-4, 4.53 ERA
  • Yovani Gallardo, Brewers: 3-4, 4.50 ERA

While Hamels has certainly not been nearly as effective as he has been in years past, you have to wonder how many wins he could have lucked into if he had received better run support.

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.