His overall numbers look as strong as always, but Braves catcher Brian McCann has struggled mightily since returning from the disabled list in mid-August.
McCann was hitting .303 with an .879 OPS when he was placed on the DL with an oblique strain, but as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes he’s hitting just .167 with 26 strikeouts in 30 games since coming off the shelf.
He’s just 18-for-108 during that time, although six of those hits have been homers and McCann has also drawn 18 walks. However, producing a .632 OPS for five weeks can certainly be tossed into the growing pile of Braves worries as they cling to a 2.5-game lead in the Wild Card race.
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.