UPDATE: The Orioles have confirmed that Andy MacPhail has decided to walk away.
11:02 AM: This flew a little bit under the radar with all the excitement of the Diamondbacks-Brewers and Cardinals-Phillies yesterday, but Andy MacPhail will indeed step down as Orioles’ president. According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, he is leaving the team to tend to family and personal obligations.
Most expected MacPhail to walk away following the season, but Connolly reports that Orioles owner Peter Angelos tried to convince him to stick around after a meeting last Thursday. However, those efforts proved unsuccessful.
No word on who might replace MacPhail, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to leave the dugout for the front office.
While MacPhail is regarded as one of the most respected executives in the game, the Orioles struggled miserably during his four-plus years at the helm, going 307-432 with four consecutive last-place finishes.
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.