Four months and 18 horrible starts into a four-year, $49 million contract Ricky Nolasco revealed to the Twins that he’s been pitching through elbow pain since spring training.
That apparently came as a complete shock to the Twins, who’ve placed the 31-year-old right-hander on the disabled list with a strained elbow.
Nolasco posted a 5.90 ERA in 104 innings before being shut down, allowing the most runs and the most hits in the American League while seeing his secondary numbers collapse and his velocity slip as well. Minnesota signed Nolasco in large part because of his durability, which included starting at least 30 games and logging at least 185 innings in five of the previous six seasons.
Sam Deduno figures to replace him in the rotation and if Nolasco’s injury proves to be a major one the Twins may turn to prospects Alex Meyer or Trevor May to fill his spot.
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.