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One of the better “how to fix the All-Star Game” stories you’ll read

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“How to fix the All-Star Game” stories run pretty thick this time of year. Everyone looks at the rosters and, more significantly, looks at all of the fill-ins and beg-outs after the rosters are announced and realizes that there has to be a better way to run a railroad.

I’m sort of blah about it all because, even though I will watch the game, I have more or less given up on the All-Star Game as some sort of important or particularly worthy pursuit. Occasionally interesting, sure, but asking how to fix it is sort of like asking how I’m going to fix that swag lamp in the corner of the basement rec room over the beanbag chair.  Eh, what’s the point?

Put people still try, and as far as those efforts go, Jeff Passan’s proposals over at Yahoo! are some of the better ones I’ve seen.  I think the key is the requirement that starters and starting pitchers play four or five innings.  Because really, it’s the token player usage and constant pitching changes which kill the proceedings more than anything. I’d like to see how Roy Halladay adjusts to facing a whole lineup of good hitters, some of them he seems twice, more than I want to see him mow down four dudes and then leave.

And yeah, Wily Mo Pena in the Home Run Derby seems pretty essential to me.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.