Jensen Lewis has consistently been one of Cleveland’s best relievers since debuting in mid-2007, posting a 3.68 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 198 innings, but he’s been knocked around in a half-dozen appearances this spring and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians have placed him on waivers.
Lewis is under contract for $650,000, which any team that claims him would also assume, but as far as veteran relievers available in late March go he should be a fairly attractive target.
On the other hand, for a non-contender like the Indians to willingly cut bait on a cheap 27-year-old reliever with a strong track record suggests he did something to fall out of favor in a hurry. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasn’t based entirely on his pitching poorly for five innings in exhibition games.
Either way it’ll be interesting to see if Lewis is claimed off waivers like Pat Neshek was by the Padres yesterday after the Twins surprisingly cut him loose.
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.