Carl Crawford running

Carl Crawford will be thanked

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Remember how the guys from DRaysBay were trying to collect money to create and place an ad in the Tampa Bay Times saying thank you to Carl Crawford for all of his years of service to Rays Nation?  Well, they did it.  Here’s what it looks like.  Here’s the DraysBay guys’ thank you to the thank you-supporters.  I love it when a plan comes together.

This actually has me misty. No, I’m not getting sentimental at the gesture. I’m sad because this is likely the last time I can use this pic of Crawford running the bases. One of my top five favorites since we started the blog up. Oh well. All good things, as they say.

In other news, it is not inaccurate to refer to Rays fans as “Rays Nation.”  Nauru is a nation. So is San Marino, Liechtenstein and Andorra. By the way, click that link for Nauru and scroll down to the pic of their parliament. It looks like a Best Western.  Pretty awesome!

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.