Prior the Red Sox signing Carl Crawford last week Peter Gammons reported that they “continue to talk to the Mets” about a potential trade for Carlos Beltran (which is obviously no longer an option).
For his part Beltran told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo that he was unaware of the rumors until a family member in Puerto Rico informed him, because he’s not “into the computer searching.”
Beltran, who technically is a 34-year-old outfielder even if he sounds like an 84-year-old grandparent, added that he doesn’t expect a trade to take place because no one from the Mets has broached the subject with him since Sandy Alderson took over as general manager.
He’s owed $18.5 million in the final season of a seven-year, $119 million contract and the Mets would no doubt have to eat a significant portion of that remaining salary to move him.
As for Beltran’s surgically repaired knee, DiComo writes that he’s yet to begin running at full speed yet, but “has been able to focus on the lower-body exercises he was forced to ignore last winter.”
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.