Orioles sign reliever Jon Rauch to minor league contract

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The Orioles have signed veteran reliever Jon Rauch to a minor league contract, reports Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. He is scheduled to report to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday.

Rauch, 34, was released by the Marlins last month after he posted a 7.56 ERA and 15/7 K/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings. However, given his lengthy track record of success, he was a good bet to land somewhere quickly. The 6-foot-11 right-hander had a 3.75 ERA from 2010-2012 between the Diamondbacks, Twins, Blue Jays, and Mets.

Orioles’ relievers were fifth in the majors last season with a 3.00 ERA, but they have a 3.79 ERA through 55 games this year. Rauch provides some quality bullpen depth in Triple-A and figures to get a chance with the big club before long.

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.