Juan Rincon, MLB.com, and telling me it's raining

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With the struggling newspaper industry providing less and less unique
baseball coverage, MLB.com has done a great job beefing up its content
this season. However, every few days an article pops up as a reminder
that the reporting and analysis being done under the MLB.com roof isn’t
always the world’s most objective.

Juan Rincon is a 30-year-old reliever who’s been released by three
teams in the past 13 months and has a 5.41 ERA in 126 innings since the
beginning of 2007, yet based on the MLB.com article about his joining the Rockies’ bullpen you’d think that he … well, didn’t stink. Seriously, read some of this stuff:

While the makeup of the Rockies bullpen has continued to change
since early this year, the addition of righty Juan Rincon is expected
to make an impact. … Reliever Matt Daley has seen first hand the
presence Rincon can have on a team after a stint in Triple-A Colorado
Springs in late May to rehab his sprained left foot. “He brings a lot
of experience and knows exactly what he wants to do and how to get
hitters out,” said Daley.

Rincon’s experience in the American League could not come at a
better time for the Rockies, who are in the midst of a three-game
series with the Angels, then head to Oakland to play a three-game set.
“The experience that he brings, especially in Interleague series,
playing with the Twins for all those years brings a lot of information
that can be relayed back to us,” said Daley.

The words “experience” and “veteran” are used five times in a 300-word
article, writer Quinn Roberts suggests that Rincon “is expected to make
an impact,” and for some reason Matt Daley is willing to talk about the
washed-up reliever as if he were Mariano Rivera. My favorite Daleyism
is the notion that Rincon “knows exactly what he wants to do and how to
get hitters out.” Can you imagine how high his ERA would be without that knowledge?

It’s probably unrealistic and maybe even a little delusional to expect
a whole lot of objectivity and critical thinking from reporters who’re
being paid by MLB to write articles for a team’s official website, but
as a wise man once said: Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

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.