This is one I’ve never heard before. Ken Rosenthal spoke with Reds’ AAA pitching coach Ted “Tower of” Power, who says that Arolids Champan may need to figure out how to throw an offspeed pitch that isn’t a changeup because his hands are too big to effectively grip one. For now he’s using his slider as his offspeed pitch.
1) When I saw Chapman pitch here in Columbus a few months ago he was definitely throwing an effective changeup. It wasn’t a slider, at any rate, as he threw some of those too, slotting in ahead of his changeups in velocity but below his fastball (it helps that I was sitting right behind home plate and couldn’t detect slider movement on many of his offspeed pitches as well). Maybe Power’s point is about consistency with the change. Chapman was on the night I saw him. He got shelled in his next outing. Maybe the change wasn’t working;
2) For now Chapman can get away with only featuring two pitches because he’s in the pen. If the Reds return him to starting next season, he’s going to have to figure something out; and
3) Knuckleball, dude. You know in your heart it’s right. How awesome would it be to go from 103 m.p.h. to a flutterball? Probably physically impossible for a guy like Chapman, but if he could do it, I’d probably quit my job and become his butler.
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.