Rays likely to sign Erik Bedard

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Confirming recent speculation from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are likely to sign veteran left-hander Erik Bedard to a minor league contract.

Bedard made 26 starts with the Astros last season, his most since 2007 with the Orioles. However, while he managed to stay mostly healthy for a change, he posted a 4.59 ERA over 151 innings while averaging 4.5 BB/9. The 34-year-old has averaged just above 89 mph on his fastball over the past two seasons, so his velocity isn’t what it once was.

The Rays will be without right-hander Jeremy Hellickson until May following elbow surgery, so the additional rotation depth can’t hurt. As of now, Jake Odorizzi is considered the favorite to replace Hellickson in the rotation.

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.