Signing Lackey doesn't mean the Sox won't extend Beckett

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There has been speculation that the Red Sox’ signing of John Lackey was just as much about providing a hedge against the departure of Josh Beckett after next season as it was about winning next season. That’s not so according to Theo Epstein, who said this at the John Lackey press conference:

“I sent Josh a text message as we were finalizing John Lackey’s deal. I just told him, ‘Some might speculate this might mean
the end for you in Boston.’ I said ‘Don’t listen to them. You’re a huge
part of what we have going on here. We love it if it worked out if
you’re a huge part of our future, as well. The most important thing is
that we have one heck of a pitching staff right now.’ He texted back.
He was very excited about the sign[ing] . . . I don’t think it impacts Josh nearly to the degree
people are speculating.”

It’s cute that Theo thinks he’s sending text messages when he’s really sending emails on his Blackberry. I mean, really, does anyone send a text message as long as that?

OK, that aside, the Lackey signing doesn’t seem to be going down perfectly with
everyone in Red Sox Nation, but he will be much easier to take as an addition to Beckett in the rotation than he would as a replacement. Obviously things could change — Beckett could blow his elbow out next year or demand $20 million a pop — but if Theo is open to the idea of keeping Beckett, Sox fans will be much happier.

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)
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.