Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo explains how a trade goes down

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I’ve always wondered how trade talks actually happen. Who calls who first? Are the conversations frank or is there this whole dance like when you go to buy a used car or something? Thankfully Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo writes a column over at MASN today explaining how it all goes down.

After reading it it’s rather obvious, but it had never occurred to me that tips — from scouts and stuff, passing along word that Team X is looking for a lefty, for example — play a big part of it. Something I was aware of but which Rizzo really stresses is the idea of keeping notes of all of conversations with the other GMs throughout the year and that sort of thing. Intelligence gathering, if you will.

A lot of us would like to think that we could run a team if given the chance — and seeing Dayton Moore flail around in Kansas City only gives us more confidence — but when you read stuff like this you realize that actual player evaluation is such a small part of what the GM does, and even then he has people for that.

The soft game — talking to people, extracting information without seeming to be extracting information, remembering stuff, pressing the flesh, listening to your sources and knowing which of them to trust and which of them not to — is a gigantic part of that. And not many people are good at that sort of thing.

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.