It took a pair of one-year contracts for the Nationals to get some value out of Chien-Ming Wang, who finally returned to the mound in the second half after missing two calendar years following shoulder surgery, and now Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that Washington is working to re-sign him.
According to Ladson both sides are interested in getting a deal done and have been negotiating for a while now, but nothing is close to happening.
Wang wasn’t his pre-surgery self upon returning, as his fastball velocity was down two miles per hour and he induced fewer ground balls. He also served up eight homers in 62 innings after throwing 131 innings per eight homers allowed with the Yankees.
Along with a putrid strikeout rate of 3.6 per nine innings that suggests his raw stuff was either lost to surgery or still needs more time to return. Yet despite thrower slowing, inducing fewer grounders, and barely missing any bats Wang still managed to be effective in 11 starts, posting a 4.04 ERA while walking just 13 batters in 62 innings.
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.