There are reports that Minnesota is not willing to pay the price on their waiver claim of Rich Harden, but Phil Rogers of the Tribune says that “Twins general manager Bill Smith is going to wake up Monday, consider how catchable the Detroit Tigers remain and pay the price.”
I dunno. The Twins are 4.5 games out. Harden will get, what, 4-5 more starts in the last month? Maybe 6? I know he can impact more than just the games in which he pitches by helping the bullpen and all of that, but there’s not a ton I’ve seen from this Twins team that suggests to me that they have a strong, final-month run in them, with Harden or without him. And it’s not as if they’ll be players for the soon-to-be free agent either.
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.
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.