CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia side steps questions about contract opt out

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Within minutes of the Yankees’ season ending CC Sabathia was asked whether he planned to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract to become a free agent, but the left-hander told reporters that he wasn’t ready to think about it yet.

“I can’t even wrap my head around that right now,” Sabathia said. “I’m just thinking about what I didn’t do to help us win. Maybe in the next couple days, next couple of weeks, I’ll think about that and see what happens.”

That certainly doesn’t qualify as a “no, I’m definitely not opting out” answer.

Sabathia has repeatedly said he loves playing for the Yankees and in New York, but from a strictly business standpoint he’d seemingly have little trouble securing a deal on the open market that beats the four years and $92 million remaining on his current contract. And he could always opt out and then re-sign with the Yankees anyway, for more money and a longer commitment.

Last offseason Cliff Lee got a five-year, $120 million deal from the Phillies that could be worth up to $147.5 million for six years and two offseasons ago the Yankees felt Sabathia was worth a seven-year, $161 million commitment. If he’s interested in maximizing his earning potential opting out is pretty obviously the way to go following a season in which he went 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 237 innings at age 30.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.