Scott Hairston has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mets, according to Ted Berg of SportsNet New York (and later confirmed by Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com).
Hairston managing only a minor-league deal is surprising, because while he’s been overmatched as an everyday player he’d be an excellent fit for any number of teams as a platoon starter versus left-handed pitching, against whom he’s hit .280 with 18 homers and an .839 OPS in 375 at-bats during the past three seasons despite calling pitcher-friendly ballparks home.
He’s also a solid defensive corner outfielder with experience in center field as well as second base, making him an ideal bench player. Very nice low-cost pickup for the Mets and a head-scratcher for the half-dozen other teams that could use a part-time lefty masher.
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.