The Yankees want to extend Joe Girardi’s contract

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Joe Girardi gets a vote of confidence and then some from Brian Cashman. Via ESPN New York:

“We’d like to have Joe Girardi back … We have a great interest in keeping him, and hopefully Joe will be here. … I think there’s really no reason to believe Joe won’t be here.”

That’s not even a dreaded vote of confidence. That’s a rare-for-New York expression of a desire to do an extension many months before said extension is necessary.

And I think it’s the right call. It’s not Joe Girardi’s fault all of the stars the Yankees were supposed to feature this year have been hurt. It is much to his credit that the Yankees have been as competitive as they have been thus far without those stars.

More importantly: Girardi, unlike just about any Yankees manager in living memory, keeps things on an even keel. There is always drama in New York, of course, but way, way more of it is outside of the clubhouse than in these days. It’s in the front office and in the imaginations of the media quite often, but rarely do you hear of players having issues with Girardi or vice-versa. Either he’s well-liked or he manages to defuse things discreetly, either of which is a valuable tool to have when managing in New York.

I see no reason why the Yankees would want to consider going with someone else at all.

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.