For the second time in a week a Blue Jays player was snatched up off waivers after Toronto cut them loose to clear space on the 40-man roster.
First the A’s claimed Edwin Encarnacion as a potential alternative to Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base and yesterday the Red Sox claimed Taylor Buchholz as a buy-low bullpen candidate with some upside.
Buchholz had an excellent season as a setup man for the Rockies in 2008, posting a 2.17 ERA, .188 opponents’ batting average, and 56/18 K/BB ratio in 66 innings, but he missed all of 2009 and most of 2010 following Tommy John elbow surgery.
He returned to the mound to throw 12 innings down the stretch this season, but showed decreased velocity with both his fastball and off-speed stuff. Still, as a 28-year-old with a solid track record Buchholz represents a nice flier for the Red Sox, who’ll hope he’s healthy enough to emerge as a middle-relief option heading into 2011.
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.