Almost everyone thinks Rusty Staub is a nice guy

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Over at MLB Trade Rumors, Howard Megdal has a nice little writeup on the career of Rusty Staub.  He uses Staub as an example of a guy who was traded a whole bunch of times but, unlike the Gary Sheffields of the world, wasn’t considered a horse’s patootie.  Megdal’s opening paragraph ends thusly:

But baseball teams managed to trade Rusty Staub five different times – even though anyone who has
ever met the man describes him as a terrific teammate and better human
being.

I’ve heard the same thing too, but not unanimously. There was a lone dissent, and it was a weird one. It came from Mickey Lolich, who — as I wrote a few years ago — I had the pleasure of meeting when I was a kid.

I won’t say Lolich was over the top about it or anything, but when my brother and I started asking him about players he liked and players he didn’t like, he brought up Staub in the latter camp. It was a weird little rant, but according to Lolich, Staub would use new batting gloves for almost
every at bat, throwing away the old one, and because of that people thought he was a prima donna.

Given that Staub and Lolich were never teammates — in fact, they were traded for one another — I can only assume Lolich got this second hand from guys he played with on the Mets. And its entirely possible that the story was infused with some weird resentment over the fact that Lolich flamed out almost immediately after the trade while Staub had several more productive years. No idea, really.

No point here, other than that Megdal’s Staub thing reminded me of the time I met Lolich, and for some reason it was the ballplayer meet-up I’ve had that I think about the most.

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.