John Gibbons was one of seven candidates the Pirates interviewed to replace John Russell as manager, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that he’s removed his name from consideration for the job and will remain the Royals’ bench coach.
Gibbons was one of six finalists for the gig because the seventh candidate Pittsburgh interviewed, Eric Wedge, opted to take the Mariners’ job, although some reports have suggested that the Pirates are also waiting to interview a coach currently involved in the playoffs, such as Tony Pena of the Yankees.
Gibbons had all kinds of good things to say about the Pirates and his interest in the job earlier this week, so pulling out of consideration seems odd. In addition to Gibbons and Wedge, the Pirates have also interviewed Jeff Banister, Ken Macha, Bo Porter, Dale Sveum, and Carlos Tosca.
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.