The White Sox are in a bit of a transitional period. And a lot of people assumed that the Cubs would try to make a play for Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols or something like that. Maybe it’s more likely that both teams will simply be sellers. Here’s Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:
According to sources, both the White Sox and Cubs are getting a lot of calls about their proven relievers, including closers Sergio Santos and Carlos Marmol. Seven teams are trying to fill a void at closer, and five of those (Red Sox, Blue Jays,Twins, Reds and Mets) are also looking for set-up men. While it would be painful to trade arms like Santos and Marmol, they could bring back multiple parts in trades. They are signed to contracts that could make them bargains.
Marmol had some meltdowns last year, but he’s still an excellent option for someone in the market. Santos, the converted infielder, saved 30 games last year and is uber-cheap.
Meanwhile, the Phillies paid $50 million+ for Jonathan Papelbon. Yeah, he’s better, but it’s not like he’s some piece of unobtainium.
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.