Sources have informed Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Giants are still on the hunt for a catcher and have shown interest recently in the Rangers’ Yorvit Torrealba.
San Francisco’s hunt for a new backstop began in late May, shortly after Buster Posey broke his leg in a collision at home plate with Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins. The search has not been fruitful to this point, but the Giants seem to have found new motivation with Eli Whiteside (elbow, quad) banged up and Chris Stewart batting .156 with a .417 OPS.
Torrealba has never been a great offensive player, but he’s easily a better hitter than Whiteside and Stewart, and he could bring some stability to the position for the Giants. The Rangers may be open to offers once Mike Napoli (oblique) returns from the disabled list. Giants setup man Guillermo Mota is said to be available, and Texas could use the bullpen help.
One possible hangup: Torrealba is owed $3.25 million next season and Posey is expected to be fully recovered by the start of spring training. There’s a chance that the Giants will balk at that math. Then again, they could use Torrealba as a highly active backup in 2011 and give starts at first base to Posey with the idea of keeping his knees healthier. That might justify the $3.25 million salary.
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.