The only thing that gives me pause about Jason Heyward’s career prospects is the sneaking sense that he’s going to be injury prone. He had a nagging sore knee at the end of the year. And, of course, he had the ligament issue in his thumb in the middle of the season that probably cost him the Rookie of the Year award.
The thumb was more serious, and Heyward says he’s swinging a bat pain-free. Still, it’s not perfect:
“I don’t have any pain in it, but I still don’t have the full range of motion in it. I still can’t bend it anywhere close to where it was before. I don’t know if I ever will be able to do that. But I know it’s not holding me back from hitting.”
It’s probably nothing. How much does one really move their thumb when hitting anyway? But I worry that he’s going to have nagging injuries. And no, this is not backed up with any empirical evidence whatsoever. This is a 100% emotional reaction.
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.