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Report: Max Muncy to participate in 2018 Home Run Derby

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers infielder Max Muncy said on the club’s radio station that he will participate in the Home Run Derby. The Derby will be held at Nationals Park one week from now as part of the All-Star Game festivities.

Muncy, 27, has had a breakout season for the Dodgers. He’s hitting .270/.407/.610 with 20 home runs and 38 RBI in 248 plate appearances. He was called up in mid-April to help cover third base after Logan Forsythe went down with an injury. After Justin Turner returned from the disabled list in mid-May, Muncy started drawing starts at first base, sharing the position with Cody Bellinger.

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is currently the only other confirmed participant in the 2018 Home Run Derby. So far, we’ve had more stars publicly decline participating — Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez — than opt in.

Judge won last year’s derby, edging the Twins’ Miguel Sanó in the final round, 11-10. The other participants last year were Stanton, Bellinger, Gary Sánchez, Mike Moustakas, Charlie Blackmon, and Justin Bour.

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.