Vladimir Guerrero and Rangers facing interesting decision on $9 million option for 2011

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Vladimir Guerrero had a great first half, hitting .319/.364/.554 with 20 homers and 75 RBIs in 83 games to make the All-Star team for the first time since 2007, but then hit just .249/.293/.370 through his first 45 games of the second half.
That dropped his OPS from .925 to .826, but Guerrero has rediscovered his stroke. He had two hits yesterday and is now 15-for-30 (.500) with six extra-base hits in his last seven games. His overall line for the season is back up to .305/.348/.503, which is good for the 15th-best OPS in the league, and he’s driven in 100 runs for the 10th time.
Guerrero has been an excellent pickup for the Rangers on a one-year, $5.5 million deal, but as Todd Wills of MLB.com writes they’ll facing an interesting decision on whether or not to bring him back for 2011. Texas would no doubt love to have Guerrero back, but his contract has a $9 million mutual option or $1 million buyout.
It’s possible that Guerrero will decline his half of the option and hit the open market in search of a multi-year deal, and even if he wants to stick around it’s also possible that the Rangers may not want to invest that much in a 36-year-old designated hitter with a .423 slugging percentage in the second half. His situation is not totally unlike Jim Thome’s in Minnesota, although Thome has done his mashing for just $1.5 million.

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.