The reports from late last night are apparently true. Jon Heyman reports that Terry Francona has managed his last game in Boston. No sense yet if it will be couched as a resignation or the Red Sox deciding not to pick up his 2012 option or Francona requesting that they not do it or whatever. There will be an announcement from the team later today, though, so we should get the story then.
Matthew touched on the ridiculousness of the Sox wanting Francona gone here and the lack of readily-identifiable replacements here. I did some of that yesterday and I talked a bit about Red Sox’ team chemistry — the reported basis for the Francona-hate today — here.
We’ll obviously have more on this as people in official capacities begin to speak and leak about it.
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.