The Reds appear to be making quick progress in contract talks with closer Francisco Cordero.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer this afternoon that he is “optimistic” the two sides will be able to work out a new deal in lieu of Cordero’s $12 million club option for 2012. They are currently in talks about a potential two-year deal.
“We’re just waiting more for them to get back to us. I’m more optimistic something will get done there in the near future just because we’ve made more progress.”
Cordero, 36, has a 2.49 ERA, 36 saves and a 42/18 K/BB ratio over 68 2/3 innings this season. While he has been excellent on the surface, his strikeout rate (5.50 K/9) and fastball velocity (93 mph, down from 95.1 mph career) have reached career-lows.
It appears Cordero is reaching the end, but with Aroldis Chapman expected to get another shot as a starting pitcher and Nick Masset regressing this season, it’s at least defensible to being him back on a two-year deal at a lesser annual salary.
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.