Cardinals manager Tony La Russa hasn’t confirmed his roster for the World Series against the Rangers quite yet, but he is expected to make two notable changes.
From Matthew Leach and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com comes word that Jake Westbrook will take the place of Kyle McCllelan in the Cardinals’ bullpen while Skip Schumaker is expected to replace Adron Chambers.
Westbrook was on the roster during the NLDS against the Phillies, but didn’t make an appearance. The 34-year-old right-hander posted a 4.66 ERA and 104/73 K/BB ratio over 183 1/3 innings during the regular season. He will likely function as a long man out of the bullpen during the World Series.
Schumaker went 6-for-10 with two doubles and three RBI during the NLDS against the Phillies, but missed the NLCS with an oblique strain. The 31-year-old utility man is capable of playing second base and all three outfield positions.
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.