Aubrey Huff lashes out against All-Star game, fans

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Aubrey Huff is having a pretty great first half for the Giants. He entered play Friday batting .298/.384/.556 with 17 homers and 54 RBI over 295 at-bats. Some might even say he’s “All-Star worthy.” In turn, Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com asked him if he would consider going to the game as an injury replacement. Apparently not.

“It’s a sham,” Huff told CSNBayArea.com by phone Friday morning from
Washington, D.C. “To me, the All-Star Game is retarded.”

Go ahead and call Huff inarticulate or politically incorrect if you want. That’s fine. He deserves it. But believe it or not, that might not be the dumbest thing he said during this interview. He continued:

“It’s so backward, it’s a joke,” said Huff, a 33-year-old veteran of
11 big-league seasons who has never been an All-Star. “I mean, if you
want to make the game mean something and be so important with the World
Series thing, why are you letting the fans pick the starters?

“If
the game’s that big of a deal, it should be the managers and players
picking the team, because they really know who the best players are. Let
the fans pick that last guy in the internet thing. That’s enough. The
way they have it now, though, with the fans picking the starters, it’s
either the most popular players or the guys on the big-market teams —
the cities with the most fans, like the Yankees and Boston and Philly —
just dominating the voting.”

I’m not going to go over every starter one by one and evaluate whether they deserve to be there, because I honestly don’t care. But I think we can all agree that this is probably the wrong year to make the argument that managers should have expanded authority on the complexion of the rosters.

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.