UPDATE: Orioles president Andy MacPhail tells Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com that Bowden’s report “is not accurate.” He’s not the first one to say that.
8:32 AM: According to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio, Vladimir Guerrero is close to signing a one-year contract with the Orioles. Bowden calls it a “humbling deal” and “one of the best free agent bargains,” so we’re going to assume he’s not getting two-year deal he wanted this offseason.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported on Thursday that the Orioles had the “inside track” on Guerrero, though the team’s interest was downplayed by Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com.
Guerrero, who turns 36 next month, batted .300/.345/.496 with 29 home runs and 115 RBI for the Rangers last season, although he did stumble to a .748 OPS after the All-Star break and struggled miserably during the World Series.
The potential addition of Guerrero would complicate things in Baltimore, as Luke Scott would have to find some bats either in left field at the expense of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold or at first base for the newly-signed Derrek Lee. For what it’s worth, Scott had a .902 OPS last season, so I’m not so sure he deserves to be the odd man out here.
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.