Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that top Japanese baseball officials will attempt to finalize a new posting system in New York this week, which will impact free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, the most sought-after prize from the Nippon Professional Baseball league.
More, from Heyman:
There is renewed hope for a posting agreement after deals fell though in late October and again about 10 days ago, though there is no guarantee a deal will be struck. Representatives from the 12 teams of the Nippon Baseball League reportedly re-started their own meetings last Monday, according to the Japan Times.
It was also reported that the Japanese officials were moving back toward a deal similar to the previous one whereby interested teams place blind bids. The team with the highest bid is then awarded an exclusive negotiating window with the player.
It is suggested that a winning posting bid could reach as high as $75 million, which would exceed the $51.7 million posted by the Rangers for Yu Darvish prior to the 2012 season.
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.