Davey Johnson would have offered to walk away from Nationals if team hadn’t surged

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Nationals manager Davey Johnson says he would have offered to step down from his position if the team continued to fumble, rather than go on a 22-7 run since August 20. In Adam Kilgore’s column for the Washington Post, Johnson said:

“I always wanted to stay and give us a chance to win,” Johnson said. “But I’m team-first, organization-first, if we needed more information on in-house managers.”

Over the last 29 games, the Nationals’ previously-dormant offense came alive, averaging nearly 5.5 runs per game. Meanwhile, the pitching staff became even more of a stalwart, posting an aggregate 3.23 ERA in the same span of time. The Nationals enter tonight’s game against the Marlins at 82-71, five games out of the second NL Wild Card-leading Reds.

This is Johnson’s last season with the Nationals. He will shift into a role as a consultant with the team after the season, and the Nationals will begin a search for a new manager.

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.