Angels will skip Joe Blanton’s next turn in the rotation

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Joe Blanton is 1-10 with a 5.87 ERA and the Angels just announced that the veteran right-hander’s next turn in the rotation will be skipped.

That means he won’t start Sunday against the Yankees as scheduled, with the Angels lining up C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson, and Jered Weaver for the three-game series instead.

It’s tough to blame the Angels for wanting to minimize their reliance on Blanton given how poorly he’s pitched, but before struggling in his most recent outing he’d thrown three consecutive Quality Starts with a 17/0 K/BB ratio in 21 innings.

And of course the Angels signed him to a two-year, $15 million deal in December, so they can’t just ignore him until he goes away.

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.