Dejan Kovacevic is reporting that the Pirates are interested in Justin Duchscherer, though they don’t know if they’d use him in a starting or a relief role. Probably depends on the state of his surgically-repaired hip and elbow, not to mention his psyche.
My first impulse was to make some sort of “pitching for the Pirates is no cure for depression” joke, but in all seriousness, Pittsburgh may just be the right place for a guy struggling to rediscover his place in the word. Assuming he’s physically healthy, he’d be among the Bucs’ best pitchers and would likely be given a nice wide berth in which to find his groove.
Plus, no matter how crappy the team is, Pittsburgh is actually a nice town with some pretty country around it. Not a bad place to restore one’s mojo.
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.