UPDATE: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the deal is worth $1.2 million and according to MLB Trade Rumors there’s also a $1.24 million mutual option for 2013, so Blanco essentially got an extra $50,000 for opting out.
Henry Blanco opted out of a one-year, $1.15 million deal with Arizona yesterday, but the veteran catcher is apparently close to returning to the Diamondbacks on a new contract.
General manager Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that they’ve “pretty much agreed to terms” that will presumably pay him a few more bucks on another one-year commitment.
Blanco has never been much of a hitter, but he remains an elite defensive catcher and is coming off a career-year at the plate in limited action. At age 40 he’s well suited for a part-time role and as a right-handed hitter backing up left-handed-hitting starter Miguel Montero is an ideal fit.
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.