Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Shin-Soo Choo has hired Scott Boras to be his agent, leaving Octagon Worldwide behind. Choo, 27, batted .300/.394/.489 with 20 homers, 86 RBI and 26 stolen bases last season. He is under team control through 2013, but he will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com recently reported that the Indians feel they have the financial flexibility to lock up both Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera to long-term contracts, however an extension for Choo will almost certainly be complicated by the presence of Boras.
Of course, Kendry Morales also recently hired Boras after he fired the Hendricks brothers in what appears to be a financial dispute. Like Choo, the 26-year-old first baseman will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season.
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.