Alex Rios has cleared waivers

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Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas reports that Rangers outfielder Alex Rios has cleared revocable waivers, which means it’s just like July all over again for him and Texas, as he can be traded to any team.

I figured he’s be a borderline case to clear. He’s making $12.5 million this year, but it’s the last year of his famously bad deal, and there are less than two months left on the season. He also has a team option for next year that is unlikely to be picked up with a $1 million buyout. That’s not super cheap, but not crazy either. At least not as crazy as it seemed when he signed the deal back in 2008.

Rios isn’t tearing up the pea patch, but he’s been decent this year, hitting .293/.323/.412 with four home runs, 45 RBI, and 16 stolen bases over 110 games. In a world where offense is really hard to come by, you have to figure a contender may take a run at him now that he’s cleared.

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.