Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball and the NL favorite for Rookie of the Year, is expected to be sidelined for 1-2 weeks with a strained left knee.
That qualifies as positive news, because Seager tweaked his knee running the bases Friday and went for an MRI exam. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called the diagnosis of a mild strain the “best-case scenario” and said it’s possible but probably “pushing it” that Seager will be ready for Opening Day.
Seager was the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick in 2012 and debuted last season, hitting .337 with four homers and a .986 OPS in 27 games while playing both shortstop and third base. Jimmy Rollins’ departure as a free agent cleared the path for Seager to take over as the everyday shortstop and the 22-year-old has a chance to be one of the best in the league immediately.
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.