Angels manager Mike Scioscia has benched the struggling Vernon Wells for tonight’s game against the Indians, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Wells, who was acquired from the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera in January, is batting just .091 (4-for-44) over his first 10 games this season and currently is mired in a 1-for-26 slump.
“It’s a mental day off,” Scioscia said of Wells. “Every hitter has rough spots. A lot of guys have some four-for-40s in their history, but when you’re with a new team, there’s a lot of attention on it. The reality is he’s trying to find his timing, and it’s creating some mis-hits. But he’ll find it. I have no doubt about it.”
Sure, Wells isn’t going to hit .091 forever, but that’s not really the point here. The 32-year-old outfielder has been wildly inconsistent for a few years now and has little chance of being worth the $81 million that the Angels will shell out over the next four seasons. A hot start could have helped his cause, but much like in Toronto, Wells is going to be a constant target of fan scrutiny.
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.