Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that 41-year-old outfielder Matt
Stairs has agreed to a minor league contract with the Padres. From Jerry’s Twitter account, a must-follow for any baseball fan:
“[Padres GM] Jed Hoyer was
very aggressive in trying to bring Matt into a young team to have a
veteran presence,” said Stairs’ agent, Bob Garber.
Stairs will serve as a left-handed pinch-hitter for the Friars this season if he’s able to land a roster spot during spring training. He hit just .194/.357/.379 last season in a similar capacity with the Phillies, but he’s dropped over 30 pounds this winter and claims to be in the best shape of his life. We shall see.
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.