Joe West: gamer

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I praised Joe West for making the right call in playing the Royals-Cardinals game to its conclusion. Now some pre-praise for the work he and his crew are going to be doing today. The game they officiated ended at 3:14 AM. Figure it took a bit to close up shop and change clothes so they’re leaving the park at, I dunno, 4 AM at the earliest?

Fine and dandy, except for the fact that, as Derrick Goold reports, West and his crew are calling today’s 1:20 PM start for the Diamondbacks-Cubs game.  Goold notes that there was a limo waiting outside to take them from St. Louis to Chicago.

Here’s hoping it’s not a close game or, at the very least, there aren’t any controversial calls.  But if there are, for once the umps have a fairly legit excuse.

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.