Joe Posnanski writes a lot of great, deep things. But it’s often his simplest observations that are the best. Like this one:
And so, in Mike Flanagan’s honor, I’ve come up with the Crafty Lefty Hall of Fame. To find my first Crafty Lefty class, I came up with what I consider the quintessential Crafty Lefty performance. I decided this is it: 7 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts.
I agree that is a near-perfect crafty lefty line for historical purpoes, though we might want to lop off an inning due to reliever specialization in recent years. Pitching into the seventh now is totally crafty enough.
At any rate, Posnanski uses that line to search for his inaugural inductees to the Crafty Lefty Hall of Fame, which actually should exist. Perhaps in a converted utility closet just off the main hallway at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Befitting crafty lefties, the induction ceremonies should be weird and fun. Maybe everyone listens to some Little Feat for a while and then shoots the breeze for a bit. Because really, crafty lefties are anything but solemn.
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.