Cubs likely to trade Matt Garza this week

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Matt Garza shot down yesterday’s report that the Cubs informed him he was going to be traded, but that obviously doesn’t mean he’s staying in Chicago. In fact, David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that Garza is likely to be traded this week.

According to Kaplan “several teams have decided they are willing to engage Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in serious negotiations” during the All-Star break rather than waiting until the July 31 trade deadline. Garza has been linked to the Cardinals, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Indians.

Since returning from the disabled list in mid-May to make his delayed season debut Garza has started 11 games with a 3.17 ERA and 62/20 K/BB ratio in 71 innings, going at least six innings and allowing two or fewer runs in each of his last six starts.

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.