“The Cubs threw me into the fire. They made people think I’m a monster.”
— Sammy Sosa on the Cubs in a forthcoming in-depth interview with Chicago Magazine in which he describes how he has no current relationship with the Cubs and how everything is just icky. The interview is not available online yet, but will be on newsstands tomorrow. A summary of the interview can be found here.
As for Sosa’s reputation in Chicago, I don’t know that anyone has much to be proud of. I’d like to think that the Cubs would be the bigger man about things in light of how much marketing mojo (and of course baseball production) Sosa brought to the north side over the years. At the same time, Sosa’s final years in Chicago — corked bats, PEDs, sulking and all the rest — make him a hard figure to love.
My guess is that they’ll be like one of those old bands that get together years later, with all of the past strife fading into distant memory. Of course, none of those reunions every bring forth anything memorable either, so we’ll all wonder what the point was.
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.
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.