Colorado is interested in signing free agent Ramon Hernandez and might be willing to trade incumbent catcher Chris Iannetta to make room for him behind the plate, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Iannetta’s stock has dropped considerably in the past couple seasons, so it’s not surprising that the Rockies are willing to part with the 27-year-old. Rosenthal reports that the Angels are among the teams interested in Iannetta and he’d certainly be an upgrade over Jeff Mathis, but so would prospect Hank Conger.
Hernandez is coming off one of his best years at age 35, hitting .282 with a .787 OPS in 91 games for the Reds. He hasn’t been particularly durable, but Hernandez has topped a .700 OPS in eight of the past nine years and gunned down 36 percent of steal attempts since 2009.
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.