Of course, I guess that depends on what you consider to be a “prospect.”
Daniel Murphy is experiencing leg fatigue down in the Dominican Winter League and he won’t return to the lineup until Tuesday, taking five days off. He’s actually hitting pretty darn well down there and playing second base regularly, so I’m not sure I’d be too worried about this.
Fernando Martinez, however, is worse off: he has a knee injury and may not play any more this winter.
I’d think that Murphy’s progress is more important for the Mets, because there’s a chance that he could start the season as the team’s second baseman. Martinez was unlikely to be a major contributor next season, and every time we hear something new about him his status as a promising prospect seems to take another blow.
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.