Asked by CSN Chicago’s Chuck Garfien what kind of grade he deserves for the season, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen responded, “Z for Zorro. I don’t think I did a good job.”
That’s probably overly harsh, given that he’s pretty much had his hands tied with having to play three of the game’s worst regulars for most of the season: Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Brent Morel. OK, maybe he didn’t have to play Morel, but alternatives like Mark Teahen and Omar Vizquel didn’t really have anything more to offer.
Plus, the one area in which a manager really can make a difference is in his bullpen usage, and after a rough start, Guillen has done a great job mixing and matching Sergio Santos, Chris Sale, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton. He definitely deserves some points for that, so I’d at least give him a solid ‘H.’
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.