In this morning’s Manny Ramirez post, I excerpted a passage from Sara Rimer’s New York Times story in which she described a one-handed, 400+ foot home run Ramirez allegedly hit while in high school. It elicited a comment from a former high school teammate of Ramirez’s, vouching for the veracity of the story and adding an old nickname of Ramirez’ I had never heard before:
I could assure you this is true. I was there. I was part of that team. It happened in late April 1991 again Brandis HS (Jose “Kiki” Jimenez). Manny has never been a public persona. Although his way of playing the game made him and I don’t think he ever got around that. We used to called him the “La Tabla” the wood plank.
See, “La Tabla” would have been a really useful thing to know back when Ramirez was playing.
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.