The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports that while the Phillies have been aggressive in pursuing Heath Bell and Mike Adams, the Padres are surprised there hasn’t been more interest from contenders like the Yankees, Reds and Cardinals.
Bell went on ESPN Radio on Sunday and predicted that he’d be traded to the Cardinals, Phillies or Rangers. ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden said later that Bell was the Rangers’ No. 1 trade target.
Since they’re factoring in the cost of missing out on two compensation picks in next year’s draft, the Padres have put a heavy price on Bell’s head. A team isn’t just buying two-plus months of Bell; it’s also getting two possible top-40 picks if he leaves as a free agent.
For that reason, there’s a growing suspicion the Padres might keep Bell and trade Adams instead. Adams could bring a bigger haul since he costs less and he’s under control for 2012. He’s also arguably the superior pitcher; Adams has a 1.20 ERA this year and a 1.33 ERA in 148 2/3 innings since the beginning of 2009. Bell is at 2.45 this season and 2.35 in 180 innings over the last three seasons.
The Padres will almost certainly deal one of the two before Sunday’s deadline. Don’t be too surprised if Bell ends up staying and Adams makes his way to Philadelphia or Texas.
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.