With the First-Year Player Draft coming up on Thursday, we should probably prepare ourselves for a lot of Kendrys Morales coverage this week. After we heard earlier today that the Yankees are “believed to have reached out to” Morales, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman now reports that the Royals are “weighing a run” at him.
It makes sense in theory, as the Royals are really struggling for offense. But they’d need to clear money to sign him. And while we heard rumors over the winter about the club shopping Billy Butler, teams could be hesitant to deal for him (and pay him the $6 million left on his contract for this year and either a $1 million buyout or $12.5 million club option for next year) considering that he’s batting just .241 with one home run and .609 OPS in 56 games this season.
So, basically, the Royals would have to deal someone like Butler and possibly outbid the Yankees to sign Morales. Crazier things have happened, but it sounds unlikely.
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.