James Neveau of NBC Chicago reports that the Cubs have fired hitting coach Chili Davis.
Davis, 58, joined the Cubs after the completion of the 2017 season. Aside from batting average, the Cubs regressed offensively — slightly, it should be noted — in a lot of offensive areas in 2018, so Davis pays the price for that. His stint with the Cubs lasts just one year.
The Cubs’ offense waned in September as the team in aggregate put up a .663 OPS in 29 games. They went 16-12 in the final month while the Brewers went 19-7. That resulted in a deadlock at the top of the NL Central at the end of the season, forcing a Game 163 tiebreaker which the Brewers wound up winning.
Davis previously coached for the Athletics (2012-14) and Red Sox (2015-17). He will probably be able to find work elsewhere, though a one-year stint with an otherwise successful team isn’t exactly the greatest look.
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.