The Royals have signed reliever Drew Storen to a minor league deal, according to reporter Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Terms have not been disclosed and the club has not yet confirmed. Jayson Stark had previously reported that Storen was “on the radar” for the Royals. The 31-year old right-hander was a solid closer for the first six years of his career with the Washington Nationals, sporting a 3.03 ERA with 95 saves and nearly a strikeout per-inning.
He prematurely ended his 2015 season by slamming a locker door in disgust and breaking his thumb. The Nationals dealt him to the Blue Jays for outfielder Ben Revere, but he faltered in Toronto leading to a trade to Seattle. He spent 2017 with the Reds, but struggled with a 4.45 ERA and a 4.88 FIP with 48 strikeouts in 54 2⁄3 innings. His velocity was way down, and he was shut down in September and eventually had Tommy John surery, costing him the entire 2018 season.
I criticize the Royals a lot, but these are the type of no-risk flyers they should be taking on. https://t.co/DDMDyQsNED— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) February 15, 2019
Storen had been throwing for teams, with the Chicago Cubs reportedly interested. He is the third reliever the Royals have signed in a week, joining Brad Boxberger and Jake Diekman. Unlike them, however, Storen is on a minor league deal with no guarantees he will make the team. He will likely have to prove he is healthy and his velocity is back up to have a chance of making a bullpen that is still very much in flux.
Update: Storen can earn $1.25 million with $900,000 in incentives, according to Jeffrey Flanagan. He also has a March 25 opt-out.