In the wake of the Rangers missing out on re-signing Cliff Lee there’s been some speculation that they could fill his spot in the rotation with closer Neftali Feliz, who was primarily a starter in the minors and ranked among Baseball America‘s top 10 prospects as a starter in back-to-back years.
Yesterday manager Ron Washington indicated the shift is a possibility, but called it “a last resort” and made it very clear that he hopes to keep Feliz (and Alexi Ogando) in the bullpen:
I trust that Jon Daniels will find something to help us out. If that becomes a necessity, we’re fortunate we have that depth. If that does not become a necessity, we’ll keep those guys where they are.
In other words, he’s counting on general manager Jon Daniels acquiring another veteran starter, either through trade (Zack Greinke? Matt Garza?) or free agency (Carl Pavano?).
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.