How much was Damon's steal really worth?

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The latest collection of rumors and notes from SI’s Jon Heyman has a couple of interesting items:

Before these playoffs, the Yankees were believed willing to go for two years and $16 million for [Johnny] Damon. But that was before his solo double steal in Game 4.

That was a spiffy play and all, but is it really the sort of thing that’s going to change the calculus for a savvy team like the Yankees?  They have almost certainly made a decision as to whether they are going to go after Bay, go after, Holliday or stick with Damon before now, and probably came up with a pretty good idea as to how much they’re going to offer them some time ago.  I can’t really feature the double steal entering into it.  If someone else wants to pay for that, great, but I don’t see the Yankees being any more willing to add a “steal premium” to Damon’s deal than the Red Sox were to go the extra mile for Dave Roberts after 2004.

Manuel’s explanation that somebody should have been covering third base didn’t really cut it. If he himself couldn’t have named the person, it’s no wonder the Phillies players didn’t know who should’ve been there.

Or maybe Manuel just didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus by name. Cholly is not the greatest manager in the history of baseball, but he’s a guy who stands up for his players. Assuming that he didn’t know who should have been covering third base simply because he didn’t name a name is wrong in my view.

If the Yankees win one more game, Mike Mussina wins the award for unluckiest Yankee, beating Don Mattingly. A Yankees from 2001-2008, he will have provided the stale sandwich meat to the Yankees’ World Series wins in 2000 and 2009.

You can add Bobby Murcer to that too. Murcer showed up the year after the Yankees’ last pennant of the Mantle teams, was traded right before the Munson-Reggie teams took off, and then returned to New York after they started to decline.  Yeah, he was on a pennant winning team in 1981, but they lost.

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)
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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)
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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.