As expected, Jayson Werth has signed with Scott Boras. I think Werth was already shaping up to be one of the most interesting free agent choices in some time, but this adds to the intrigue.
His 2010 season was being talked about like it was a disappointment for much of the early part of the season, but you look up and you realize that he leads the Phillies in OPS, out-slugging Ryan Howard. He has started more games and has had more plate appearances than anyone on the team. The guy everyone thinks will make Werth expendable — Domonic Brown — is apparently not ready for prime time yet, batting .214/.242/.375 in limited play. And then Werth goes and pulls the hero act with that blast yesterday, causing my Twitter feed to fill up with a bunch of #resignJaysonWerth hash tags from Phillies people.
At the same time, Werth is 31 years-old and the Phillies ridiculously overpaid for Howard recently, putting their financial flexibility into some doubt. Boras isn’t known for having clients who sign hometown discounts, and that’s even before you remember that Werth’s hometown is in the Midwest, not Philly.
Ultimately I think he fits best with Philly and they probably need him the most. But as the season has gone on, the likelihood of that happening has gotten lower and lower, I’d say.
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.