Cervelli is useful, but don't get used to him

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There’s some talk that Jorge Posada is contributing to the Yankees’ pitching woes:

One unsettling fact for the Yankees is the difference when
Jorge Posada catches. With Posada behind the plate, the Yankees’
pitchers have a 6.31 E.R.A. The combined E.R.A. with Francisco
Cervelli, Jose Molina and Kevin Cash is 3.81 . . . Posada, 37, has
handled many exceptional pitchers in his career. Although some, like
Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina, have preferred other catchers, Posada
does not have to apologize for his resume. Posada takes his job
seriously and is an emotional engine of the team.

Yet
Burnett, in particular, seems to struggle with him. In Burnett’s four
starts pitching to Posada, opponents have batted .330. In nine starts
with the other catchers, the average is .223.

This not just media
chatter on a day off, as Burnett himself is on record questioning
Posada’s pitch selection, albeit in somewhat diplomatic terms.

Not
that any of this matters, because there are two numbers that are going
to determine who catches for the Yankees going forward. The first is
.940, which is Posada’s current OPS, and which more than makes up for
whatever impact his pitch choices have on his starters’ ERA. The second
is 1, which is the number of minor league options Francisco Cervelli
has left, meaning that when Jose Molina comes back from the DL,
Cervelli will most likely be enhancing the ERAs of the Scranton-Wilkes
Barre pitching staff, not the one in New York.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.