Phillies' Hamels, Halladay and Howard watch as the Giants celebrate their victory in Game 4 of their Major League Baseball NLCS playoff series in San Francisco

Looks like the Phillies rotation is going to be “R2C2” whether we like it or not

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I linked the Stan Hochman column in which he solicited ideas for nicknames for the Phillies’ rotation the other day (recall that he wanted it to be “Un-Four-gettables”).  Well, the mob has spoken and Stan delivers the news:

The winner, by a squeaky margin, was R2C2, a spinoff of the smart-aleck “Star Wars” robot. Good luck trying to get copyright clearance on that one. Finishing second was Four Aces, with the voters equally divided between poker references and a tribute to the Philadelphia music group starring Al Alberts. (Biggest hit: “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.”)
Um. OK.
Anyway, most people were saying “R2C2” anyway, so I suppose we’re stuck with that one, for better or worse. And it’s not bad as far as these things go.  Not nearly as awesome as “Fat Joe and the Terror Squad,” which many had suggested. But I suppose it’s better to have something that will still work if Joe Blanton gets traded. Alas.

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.