I found it odd that righty Grant Balfour was brought in to face lefty Curtis Granderson last night — Granderson homered — but I didn’t think much about it. I’m just realizing now that it was a screwup by the Rays: Joe Maddon had apparently wanted lefty Randy Choate, but a
miscommunication with the bullpen left only Balfour warming up. Maddon copped to it as his mistake after the game. Never heard of that one before.
It’s a bit of a different situation, but I do sometimes wonder how, when there are two pitchers warming up in the pen, the guys down there see the manager’s signal
clearly when he goes out to make the change. The situation usually dictates things, of course — a lefty up with a lefty and a righty warming pretty much tells you that the lefty is coming in — but do they ever screw
up and have the wrong guy run out? I can’t remember it happening, but
it had to have happened at some point, right?
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.