For a brief time it looked like the Mets might give 22-year-old prospect Dilson Herrera a chance to replace Daniel Murphy as second base, but that idea was squashed once they traded for Neil Walker. And now Herrera is headed back to the minors, as the Mets included him among 20 total players in their second round of spring training cuts today.
Herrera mostly struggled in 31 games for the Mets last season and just turned 22 earlier this month, so more seasoning in the minors isn’t a bad idea for the former top-100 prospect. On the other hand he’s hit .340 at Double-A and .327 at Triple-A while being very young for each level of competition and, had they not pulled off the deal to get Walker from the Pirates for left-hander Jon Niese, the Mets seemed ready to hand him the keys.
Walker is an impending free agent, so as of now things are set up for Herrera to spend the bulk of this season in the minors and then take over as the Mets’ starting second baseman in 2017.
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.