UPDATE: Cards sign Felipe Lopez

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Felipe Lopez headshot.jpgUpdate: OK, Johnny Mo is just showing off at this point. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Lopez will earn a $1 million base salary with $1.2 million in “easily attainable” incentives. Lopez made $3.5 million last season.

Saturday, 11:00 AM: The Cardinals have officially announced the signing. In fact, Lopez is already at Roger Dean Stadium (hat-tip to John Marecek of KTRS in St. Louis).

Friday, 8:55 PM: Heyman writes that he’ll make a $1.75 million base salary. Even better for the Redbirds.

Friday, 8:38 PM: Buster Olney of ESPN confirms the signing. One-year, $2 million, pending a physical.

Friday, 8:00 PM: According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are close to signing free agent infielder Felipe Lopez to a one-year contract. He could take a physical as soon as this weekend, according to the report. If the contract is finalized, he’ll earn a $2 million base salary with a chance for some additional incentives.

Lopez, who earned $3.5 million last season, amazingly has to settle for less money after what was arguably his best season. He batted .310/.383/.427 with nine home runs and 57 RBI for the Diamondbacks and Brewers in ’09 and as I compiled in November, Lopez ranked fourth among impending free agents in WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Lopez became so frustrated this offseason that he recently fired Scott Boras and signed on with Beverly Hills Sports Council.

Lopez, who played 43 games with the Cardinals in 2008, is a pretty nice contingency plan while Brendan Ryan rehabs from wrist surgery. Because of his versatility around the diamond, he could even play some third base on occasion if rookie David Freese struggles or needs a breather. It’s a no-brainer, really.

And for my fellow Mets fans, just a reminder that Alex Cora will make $2 million this season and Luis Castillo is still the starting second baseman.
 

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.