That’s what the Baltimore Sun is reporting, with an interview between Valentine and team brass possible as early as tomorrow. People have talked about what kind of jobs Valentine would or would not take given that he has a cushy analyst role at ESPN right now, but the Sun reports that sources close to Valentine say that the Baltimore job would be something he’d be interested in.
Also mentioned: Eric Wedge, who is not yet scheduled for an interview but whom the Sun reports was contacted by the team. Wedge is a far less sexy choice obviously, and I’m struggling to think why the O’s would want him. Sure, he has managerial experience, but if he showed one thing while he was in charge in Cleveland it was that he couldn’t really inspire anyone. In this he’s a lot like Dave Trembley: nice guy, totally professional, but the wrong man to manage a talented yet underachieving team who could use some butt kickings.
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.