Matt Kemp stole his 20th base of the season last night, which along with 20 homers puts him halfway to joining the 40-homer, 40-steal club after just 75 games.
Jose Canseco was the first 40-40 player in 1988 and since then Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano have joined him in the club.
Kemp obviously has a long way to go, as getting another 20 homers and 20 steals in the remaining 87 games would be a major accomplishment for anyone, but he’s off to a historic start.
Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. did some digging and found that Kemp is just the ninth player to reach 20-20 by the midway point (81st game) of a season. Actually, he’s the eighth player, as Canseco did it twice and Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Eric Davis, and Ken Williams each did it once.
And Kemp still has another six games to add to his before-the-midway-point totals.
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.