Here it comes.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, free agent left-hander Cliff Lee will decide on a club by the end of this weekend.
Lee has a formal offer in hand from the Yankees that is thought to be worth around $140 million over six years. He will probably get a matching offer or something better within the next 24 hours from the Rangers and maybe something similar from a few other teams.
But, by this weekend, he is going to have a decision. The biggest free agent on this winter’s market will be wrapped up with a bow before December 13.
Lee, 32, registered a stellar 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts in 2010 with 185 strikeouts against 18 walks. We’ve heard rumors about him disliking the Texas heat and there was that thing about Yankees fans spitting on his wife. But he’s going to chase the money. That’s what free agents do.
So, who’s ready to pay up?
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.