Joe Blanton

Ruben Amaro doesn’t feel “comfortable” trading Joe Blanton

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When we checked in with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. last week, he wasn’t in a hurry to deal Joe Blanton. Now? According to what he told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com today, it sounds like he isn’t willing to deal him at all.

“I don’t feel comfortable doing it,” Amaro told FOXSports.com. “He’s going to pitch for the Phillies, probably for the entire season.”

Doesn’t feel comfortable? If having Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in his starting rotation doesn’t have him sleeping pretty well at night, I’m not sure anything will.

In all seriousness, this is likely a matter of how much money the Phillies are willing to absorb in a potential trade. Blanton is owed $8.5 million over each of the next two seasons and one rival executive told Rosenthal that there was “not a chance” his team would make a deal unless the Phillies were willing to cover a significant part of his salary.

For now, it sounds like Amaro is satisfied with having a pretty good fifth starter in Blanton, but don’t forget, as Craig has said many times before, this guy is a ninja. Can’t put anything past him.

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.