The latest on Oswalt

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There have been various updates and added wrinkles to the Roy Oswalt news since this morning. The highlights:

  • Derrick Goold reports that the Cardinals are the Astros’ first choice. This squares with what I was hearing last night. Past of it is geographic (Oswalt owns a farm in Illinois and it isn’t terrible far from his Mississippi home).  Part of it is clubhouse culture. Part of it is that Oswalt believes that the Cardinals represent is best chance to win a championship.
  • Heyman says that the Cardinals want the Astros to take on a good chunk of the money still owed Oswalt. I’m sure that’s what they want — who wouldn’t — but I have to think that at some point the Astros would think that, hell, if they’re paying for the guy they may as well get 200 quality innings out of the guy a year too, so why bother?
  • Brad Lidge volunteered that he would gladly call Oswalt in an effort to sell him on coming to Philly instead.  This is rather interesting. On the one hand, given all of the strife Lidge has gone through in Philly these past two seasons, if he can still endorse the city and the club to Oswalt, it speaks highly of the place and maybe Oswalt should listen. On the other hand, the more Lidge reminds Oswalt that Lidge will be responsible for closing out Oswalt’s starts, the less attractive such a prospect becomes, no?
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Cardinals have offered two players from their major league roster for the Astros ace.  In other words, not top pitching prospect Shelby Miller.  Jon Jay, Allen Craig and Fernando Salas are among the likely suspects.

It’s all pretty quiet on the non-Oswalt trade rumor front today, so look for more updates to this one as events warrant.

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.