Building up to MLB’s standards — in the Netherlands

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The New York Times has a story about a new ballpark being built in the Netherlands, where baseball is on the rise.  The problem: the folks in the Netherlands building the ballpark have certain needs and a certain budget but they’re also trying to lure some MLB exhibition games — or even regular season games — to the park at some point.

That means that they are working with MLB on certain standards for clubhouses, dugouts, grass and dirt. And that’s kind of a pain in the ezel:

Major League Baseball insisted on 400 square meters, about 4,300 square feet, per team. “For daily use, what’s the sense of that?” Mr. Broersen said, striding across the construction site, a hard hat bobbing on his head. “Or showers: I don’t need a shower room with 10 or 12 shower heads, but M.L.B. said, ‘I want it.’ ”

To Mr. Broersen I’d say the same thing I’d say to civic leaders in America: if MLB wants something make them friggin’ pay for it.

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.