Anthony Andro of the Star-Ledger reports that Ivan Rodriguez is going to catch the first pitch thrown out by Nolan Ryan before Game 3 of the World Series tomorrow.
Look, I know it’s Pudge, and that Pudge will always and forever thought of as a Ranger — and yes, I’m fully prepared to admit that I may be overrating — but does anyone else think it’s, well, sorta wrong for an active player under contract to be participating in pregame ceremonies for another team’s World Series game?
This is not like those situations in which a player — say, Derek Lowe, for example — takes part in his old team’s championship ring ceremony on Opening Day the next season. At least those guys were part of what is being celebrated. Rodriguez had nothing to do with the 2010 Texas Rangers’ success. He was the Nationals’ catcher and remains under contract with them for 2011. In very real terms he was competing against the Texas Rangers in 2010, in the same way all teams are competing with one another for the World Series title. Should he really be shaking hands, doing the photo ops and participating in the ceremony for the Rangers when he’s still a Nat?
I know Pudge is loved in Texas, but until he retires, he’s just a guy the Rangers used to know. And in some way, this feels like a guy inviting his ex-girlfriend to his wedding.
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.