Today’s Buster Olney column is actually pretty good as it relates to Jason Heyward’s expectations and the media and all of that, but I can’t help but think his opening paragraphs were specifically intended to give Braves fans a heart attack:
Jason Heyward was born in Georgia, was a first-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves,
was seen as a hometown-kid-makes-good star since high school, has been
given high marks for his makeup, and is on the verge of breaking into
the majors amid outsized expectations.
Jeff Francoeur knows something about all that. He was born in Georgia. He was a first
round pick of the Braves. He was seen as a
hometown-kid-makes-good-star, was given high marks for his makeup, and
he broke into the majors amid outsized expectations.
I like to slam Francoeur whenever I can because he made me cry big tears when he was in a Braves uniform, but I have to be fair here and note that he gives some very good advice to Heyward in the column about how to handle it all. For as big as city as Atlanta is, it’s a pretty provincial place when it comes to its athletes, so if Heyward has even a fraction of the start Francoeur had when he broke into the league, you can bet people will go kinda crazy.
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.