When the A’s opted against calling up Travis Buck from Triple-A in September the writing was on the wall for his departure from Oakland, and sure enough the former first-round pick was non-tendered a few weeks ago.
Buck made it to the majors less than two years after the A’s picked him in the first round out of Arizona State and hit .288 with an .850 OPS in 82 games as a 23-year-old rookie in 2007, but he’s spent more time on the disabled list than the field since then while hitting .215 in a grand total of just 88 games in the past three seasons.
Buck will try to resurrect his career in Cleveland after signing a minor-league contract with the Indians and at 27 years old there’s still plenty of time for him to turn things around, but his numbers at Triple-A haven’t even been particularly impressive during the past two seasons and Buck’s lack of power figured to keep him from becoming a star even before all the injuries did him in.
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.