Jon Heyman reports that, in addition to the Yankees and the Rockies, the Tampa Bay Rays are now talking to Andruw Jones.
Jones hit .230/.341/.486 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI for the White Sox last season, but is line against lefties — .256/.373./.558 — is pretty attractive for a lot of teams. He’d certainly have more opportunities to hit in Tampa Bay than he would in New York — where Jorge Posada is going to be the everyday DH — or Colorado, where Jones would have to play more defense in a big outfield that would kill a lot of his value.
By the way, the fact that I feel really weird talking about Andruw Jones as a defensive liability is perhaps the best evidence that, as time goes on, I find myself stuck in the 1990s more and more. Well, that and the fact that I watched a bunch of X-Files episodes last night. There was a time when Andruw Jones was the best outfielder in baseball. There was a time when cell phones were a foot long. There was a time when I considered quitting law school and leaving my wife so I could stalk Gillian Anderson full time.
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.