Phillies hit a snag in $50 million deal with Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

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Two weeks ago the Phillies were said to have agreed to a six-year, $50 million deal with Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, but the contract has yet to be announced officially and apparently it may not actually happen now.

For their part the Phillies have said absolutely nothing about Gonzalez one way or another and Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the agreement “hit a snag.” Zolecki speculates that Gonzalez’s history of elbow problems could be the issue.

Gonzalez is widely viewed as a potential mid-rotation starter and MLB-ready at age 26, so if the signing falls through the Phillies’ pitching plans would change quite a bit for 2014 and beyond. As of two weeks ago the Red Sox were believed to be the runner-ups for Gonzalez, so it’ll be interesting to see if they get back in the mix now and if his price tag will be lower.

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.