Mark Cuban and Jim Crane may team up to bid on the Rangers

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Many have suggested that Mark Cuban and Houston Businessman Jim Crane are not wanted by Major League Baseball (note: his name has been legally changed to “Houston Businessman Jim Crane.” I’m totally not effing with you here). But maybe in baseball as in nature, two negatives make a positive:

Mavericks  owner Mark Cuban  could make a joint bid for the Rangers with Houston investor Jim Crane to counter Nolan Ryan’s group at Wednesday’s auction, the latest twist in the ballclub’s bankruptcy drama.

“We’re exploring working with Crane,” Cuban’s staff attorney, Dan Jauchen, said Monday after the court-appointed chief restructuring officer disclosed the development. Jauchen then zipped his mouth, refusing even to confirm his own name – supplied later by another Cuban lawyer.

It says a lot about the nearly year-long Rangers’ odyssey that a well-paid lawyer everyone knows zipping his lip and refusing to confirm his own name is not the silliest thing that has happened.  I totally expect tomorrow’s auction to end with Chuck Greenberg taking himself hostage like Clevon Little in “Blazing Saddles,” telling everyone “don’t move or the lawyer/mogul gets it!”

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.