Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that Scott Olsen opted for free agency after he was outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse. The southpaw was arbitration-eligible this winter, so this is essentially an early non-tender.
Olsen has completely fizzled out since compiling a 4.04 ERA and striking out 166 batters over 180 2/3 innings in his rookie season with the Marlins in 2006. He underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum last August and returned to post a 5.56 ERA and 53/27 K/BB over 17 games (15 starts) this past season.
Olsen spent over two months on the disabled list this season because of soreness and inflammation in his surgically-repaired shoulder and was finally shut down in September. With the health of his shoulder in question, he’ll probably have to settle for a minor league deal this winter.
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.