How cute, the Yankees think they are underdogs

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Wait, what?

Yeah that’s right, the big, bad, New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins to the punch on Tuesday, swiping the underdog role right out from under their noses. Not surprisingly, Alex Rodriguez was the culprit, telling the New York Times: “I mean, for us to be David in this situation, I think, is great.”

Well, whatever the Yankees need to do to motivate themselves and build team unity is fine, though I would think those big fat paychecks would be enough. They certainly didn’t seem all that motivated down the stretch, finishing 6-9 as they refused to steal the AL East away from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Of course one has to wonder if that was part of the grand plan in the Bronx, setting up a series vs. the Twins, who they are 9-2 against in the postseason since 2003, instead of the Rangers, who feature Cliff Lee at the top of their rotation. But we’ll leave that one for the conspiracy theorists.

So what now for the Twins? If the Yankees are David, what does that make them? Erkel?

Regardless, it should be a fun series, and I’m not going to read a whole lot into the underdog stuff nonsense. Heck, even Mark Teixeira couldn’t keep a straight face.

Asked if he believed the Yankees were truly underdogs, Teixeira smiled and said: “Yeah, why not? I think it’s fun. I think we’ll enjoy that role.”

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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)
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)
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.