All the Mets are sick and Daniel Murphy is missing Opening Day because his wife is in labor

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Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy won’t be in the Opening Day lineup because his wife went into labor with their first child, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports. Murphy played all but one game last season, logging 697 plate appearances to rank sixth in the league. (Also: Congrats!)

And because these things always seem to happen to the Mets and there’s no sense in wasting any time continuing that for 2014, manager Terry Collins told Rubin that 4-5 players are “fighting the flu.”

Outfielder Chris Young is apparently one of them, because the Mets’ official Twitter account just announced that he’ll sit out Opening Day due to sickness, although previously Collins indicated that Young also has a quadriceps injury that would keep him from playing.

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.