Boston’s roster is being overhauled today. In addition to putting Dustin Pedroia on the disabled list and calling up both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Deven Marrero from Triple-A the Red Sox have also demoted right-hander Joe Kelly to Pawtucket.
Kelly actually managed to stay in the rotation for a month after reports of him being “clearly on thin ice” surfaced in late May, but the Red Sox eventually got tired of waiting for him to turn things around. Kelly posted a 5.67 ERA in 14 starts and heads back to the minors at age 27 and with more than 400 career innings as a big leaguer.
Last year’s trade deadline swap that sent John Lackey to the Cardinals for Kelly and Allen Craig looks like a total bust for the Red Sox. Kelly has a 4.96 ERA in 24 starts for Boston, Craig has hit .130 in 53 games for Boston, and now they’re teammates in Pawtucket.
Justin Masterson will step into Kelly’s rotation spot, although he may not be on the sturdiest of ice himself.
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.