We’ll know who the All-Star Game starting pitchers are, at the latest, early this afternoon when the managers meet the press. But there is some suggestion that Mike Matheny may call his own guy’s number and have Adam Wainwright make the start.
Rick Hummel reports that Matheny and Wainwright are both saying things which suggest that Wainwright is ready to go. He pitched on Saturday, is feeling good, Tuesday is the day he’d throw a side session, etc. He also suggests that Matheny has already made his decision and told Wainwright about it even if it isn’t public and that Wainwright offered a coy smile about it.
Of course, Clayton Kershaw is the better pitcher and he hasn’t pitched since Thursday. So perhaps there is still time for Matheny to change his mind and make, you know, the better choice.
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.