Mat Gamel was once considered Milwaukee’s third baseman of the future, but his shaky glove combined with Casey McGehee’s presence has the Brewers thinking instead that he could be the replacement at first base if Prince Fielder leaves as a free agent (or is traded before then).
However, based on what Gamel said to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about playing first base it sure doesn’t sound like he’s in love with that idea:
It was a lot easier for me [in right field] than first base. It’s a lot less stressful. It’s tougher than people think. First ain’t easy. I have a lot more respect for those guys knowing what they do. Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do. If [Triple-A] is where they send me, I don’t have any choice. I’ll deal with it like I do every year, be happy I’ve got a job. A lot of people don’t have jobs these days.
He’s right in the sense that while first base probably isn’t more difficult to play than left field or right field–after all, guys like Prince Fielder play it–it’s definitely more action-filled than an outfield spot. First basemen are involved in many more plays per game than corner outfielders or even third basemen.
With that said, I suspect Gamel would gladly take the first base gig if Fielder leaves.
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.