Terry Collins, Clint Hurdle and Bob Melvin remain the favorites in the Mets’ managerial derby, but one wildcard candidate has emerged in the past 24 hours. As hinted by Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com earlier this afternoon, the Mets will indeed interview Jose Oquendo next Monday in Orlando before the GM meetings get underway, according to David Lennon of New York Newsday.
Oquendo confirmed the upcoming interview to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Managing in the big leagues is something I hope to do. The opportunity to interview with the Mets is exciting,” Oquendo said.
Oquendo, an ex-Met, has spent the past 11 seasons as Tony La Russa’s third base coach with the Cardinals. He has previously interviewed for manager jobs with the Mariners and the Padres, who were then led by, you guessed it, new Mets GM Sandy Alderson. The Mets are expected to settle on someone with previous experience — hence the favorites listed above — but the La Russa connection has to help his chances.
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.