As Matt noted last night, almost everything the Cardinals do depends on Matt Holliday. If they can keep him, they’re willing to let Mark DeRosa go without a fight and allow young David Freese take over at third. And it goes beyond just third base, with owner Bill DeWitt saying “If we don’t spend on Holliday, we will spend on other players.”
In light of that, the Cardinals are pushing hard to meet with Scott Boras this week in order to get some sense as to whether they have a legitimate shot at re-signing their left fielder, says Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch. Boras, however, has told the Cardinals to hold off on making any offers until at least this week. Ideally, he’s have them wait even longer — say, until the Yankees and anyone else is ready to make an offer — so he can play one off the other. That’s just how he rolls.
Upshot: I can’t feature Boras giving the Cardinals any more certainty than they have now. They should just move on, spend their money on people willing to deal and see if Boras comes calling later. Life is too short, ya know?
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.