The world is a funny place. After years of thinking you know someone, you wake up one day to find out that they actually like hockey. That’s what happened over the weekend, as all sorts of people I once considered to be respectable were asking me whether I was watching the USA-Canada game, telling me that their heart skipped a beat when the U.S. tied it up to send it into overtime and all that jazz. It’s much like the way everyone I knew suddenly liked curling a couple of weeks ago, only this time it was without any apparent irony.
Well, it’s time for these folks to put their mouse clicks where their mouth is, as we’ve launched ProHockeyTalk (RSS! Twitter!). Emceed by Brandon Worley, PHT will provide you with all the NHL news, rumors, insight, analysis, “Slap Shot” references and poutine you could possibly want, all in one convenient location. You should totally check it out. I’m a huge Cleveland Barons fan, so I’ll definitely be reading. Johnny Damon and Scott Boras will be clicking there every day too. They LOVE octopus.
In other news, ProCurlingTalk’s launch — originally scheduled for next week — is going to be delayed. Some squatter owns that URL and he’s being a real jerk in negotiations. I’ll give you the heads up.
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.