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David Price, Jonny Venters win Comeback Player of the Year Awards

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David Price of the Boston Red Sox and Jonny Venters of the Atlanta Braves have been named the 2018 Comeback Players of the Year.

Venters’ comeback was nothing short of astounding. He returned to the bigs for the first time since 2012, undergoing two Tommy John surgeries in that span. Which were, in fact, his second and third Tommy John surgeries overall. This year he went 5-2 with three saves and a 3.67 ERA over 50 appearances, 22 of which came with the Tampa Bay Rays. He’d probably have won the award even if his arm fell off in his fifth outing, to be honest. That he was an effective full-time reliever was frankly amazing.

Price’s comeback was not anywhere near as dramatic, but it was a comeback all the same. Limited by injury to just 16 games in 2017 — 11 of which came as starts — Price returned to full time action in 2018, going 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA over 30 starts. It wasn’t a dramatic improvement in any rate stats or anything, but simply being back on the field more was a key part of helping the Red Sox win the World Series.

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.