Report: the Diamondbacks are prepared to unload the money truck on Yu Darvish

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Last month we heard reports that Japanese ace Yu Darvish could be posted this winter (i.e. his current club, Nippon Ham, could make him available to major league teams for a price). Now Patrick Newman of the excellent NPB Tracker passes along word that the
Diamondbacks are willing to go as high as $80 million for Darvish.

Some portion of that would probably be the posting fee and some portion of it the actual contract, what with the previous record posting fee being  $51.1 million for Daisuke Matsuzaka.  With his contract added in, Matsuzaka ended up costing the Sox over $100 million. Figuring that (a) the Diamondbacks aren’t likely to spend like the Sox; and (b) Dice-K ended up being, you know, not worth $100 million, you’d have to assume that the $80 million figure would cover it all.

As for Darvish the pitcher: he’s been worked hard during his professional career. There are some that categorize him as a Dice-K style nibbler. Not sure if that’s just stereotyping — a Japanese pitcher being a “nibbler” is becoming like a white guy being a “possession receiver” in its cliche value — but the point is that not everyone is as excited about Darvish today as they were a couple of years ago.

But, hey: nibbler or not, overpriced or not, he would almost certainly constitute an improvement for the Diamondbacks as they try to build their team around starting pitching.

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.