The Feds sue Arizona over the immigration law; 2011 All-Star Game likely saved

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As we have reported ad nausuem, the new Arizona immigration law has created a ruckus in baseball
circles.  Most of that ruckus has surrounded the 2011 All-Star Game, scheduled for Chase Field. Multiple players have gone on record against the law with some — including the Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez — saying that they’d boycott the game if the law was in effect.

Today comes a new development along those lines: the U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit challenging the law an unlawful usurpation of federal power. This will do absolutely nothing to calm the general controversy over the law. Quite the opposite, actually, as lawsuits tend to focus the ire of partisans on both sides of a given issue.

But is should solve baseball’s little P.R. problem.  That’s because the feds are asking for an injunction suspending implementation of the law until the lawsuit is decided. Such injunctions are almost always granted, especially with respect to laws — like this one — that aren’t even in force yet.

The lawsuit is likely to last a long damn time.  Certainly longer than a year, which will give baseball plenty of time to get the 2011 All-Star Game in while giving all sides the chance to say “it’s in the courts, play ball.” The game will happen and baseball will set its sights on Kansas City in 2012.

Now let’s talk about what truly matters: who manages the 2011 NL All-Stars given that 2010 World Series champ manager Bobby Cox will be retired?

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)
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)
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.