We heard yesterday that the Orioles agreed to terms with Derrek Lee on a one-year contract. Now we’re learning some of the potential details.
While Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun writes that the contract is expected to be worth $8 million, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports hears that the deal includes incentives and could be worth as much as $10 million.
That’s a big price to pay for a 35-year-old first baseman coming off a 774 OPS and thumb surgery, but it’s right in line with the market value. Remember, Lance Berkman received $8 million from the Cardinals and the Cubs are paying Carlos Pena $10 million, though some of the money is deferred.
As Aaron pointed out yesterday and Buster Olney of ESPN.com wrote this morning, committing only one year to Lee gives the Orioles the ability to be flexible going into next winter, when Prince Fielder will be a free agent.
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.