Travis Hafner exited yesterday’s game with a sprained right foot and the Indians have placed the designated hitter on the disabled list.
Hafner also missed time with a foot injury in April and spent a month on the DL with an oblique strain around midseason, but he’s been very productive when healthy enough to be in the lineup, hitting .281 with 11 homers and an .812 OPS in 82 games.
Hafner is out for at least two weeks and his potentially being a question mark for September could increase the Indians’ chances of claiming Jim Thome, who reportedly was placed on waivers today along with an assortment of other veterans.
Thome could step into the DH spot for however long Hafner is out before moving into a pinch-hitter role, and both his remaining salary (about $600,000) and the Twins’ likely asking price (probably a mid-level prospect) are very affordable. It seems like an ideal fit for everyone involved, but that will be a moot point if a team in front of the Indians on the waiver wire pecking order also puts in a claim.
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.