We heard over the weekend that that the Orioles’ top priority was to add a starting pitcher, so it should come as no surprise that ESPN’s Buster Olney names them among the teams interested in free agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo.
Olney writes that contract terms is the big question, but Arroyo won’t cost nearly as much as the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, and Matt Garza. The Grant Balfour deal was recently nixed over health concerns, so the Orioles should still have some money to spend.
Arroyo, who turns 37 in February, posted a 3.79 ERA and 124/34 K/BB ratio over 202 innings last season with the Reds. Like most starting pitchers, his market has been pretty quiet recently, but we should see a lot of movement once there’s some clarity with Tanaka.
The Orioles have also been connected to A.J. Burnett this offseason as they attempt to upgrade their starting rotation, but he is still mulling over the possibility of retirement.
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.