Reliever Saito gets $3.2 million from Braves

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saito red sox.jpgTakashi Saito’s deal with the Braves is worth $3.2 million and includes $2.3 million in incentives, most of them based on games finished, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
That sounds about right to me. Saito’s stuff has shown signs of decline as a result of his elbow problems, but he still managed a 2.43 ERA in 55 2/3 innings for the Red Sox last season and he got better as the year went along. Of course, his WHIP has gone from 0.91 to 0.72 in his first two seasons with the Dodgers to 1.19 and 1.35 the last two, but his strikeout rate remains strong and he’s returning to the easier league now.
The Braves have essentially swapped two young injury-prone relievers in Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez for two much older ones in Billy Wagner and Saito. In the process, they’ve saved themselves somewhere around $5 million for 2010 and the necessity of multiyear commitments. Also, they’re going to end up gaining three draft picks. They lost a first-rounder for Wagner, but they’ll pick up four when Soriano and Gonzalez depart.
I think it’s a fair trade. Soriano and Gonzalez both have lengthy injury histories and are going to be very risky propositions on the three-year deals they could land this winter. An Atlanta bullpen with a top five of Wagner, Saito, Peter Moylan, Kris Medlen and Eric O’Flaherty still looks very good, and the Braves would currently have my vote for the title of the National League’s best pitching staff.

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.