cliff lee in delivery

Here’s what I think happens with Cliff Lee

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I don’t just sit and pontificate about free agent or trade destinations very often, but it’s a slow day, so here goes:

  • I predict that the Yankees are going to get Cliff Lee, with Lee selecting the seven-year deal off that “menu” of offers the Yankees are reported to have given him;
  • I predict that he will be the highest paid free agent pitcher of all time;
  • I predict that when it’s all said and done, word will leak that the Rangers offers — for all of the pomp and circumstance, visits to Arkansas and billionaires on parade — were decidedly light.
  • I predict that the inevitable conclusion of all of this will be that, in reality, Cliff Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker got Brian Cashman to bid against himself in a panicky fashion.
  • I predict that, for the first couple of years anyway, no one in Yankeeland will really care because Lee will do pretty well.
  • I predict that, in three or four years, Lee will regress or break down and become a good but by-no-means elite lefty starter.
  • I predict that, when that happens, people will look back at this winter and wonder why everyone was so hot for Cliff Lee.

None of that is based on any inside information. Just my suspicion of how it’s all going to play out based on a few minutes away from the computer, thinking big picture thoughts while flying home last night. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But I think I’m right.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.