Last month some reports linked Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols to the Nationals, but that can safely be ruled out now.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post spoke to a Nationals source who classified the team’s alleged interest as “not even a good lie.”
Washington already has $8 million committed to Adam LaRoche at first base, although he’s a question mark after missing all but 43 games with a shoulder injury.
Obviously if Pujols or Fielder feel like lowering their demands the number of teams legitimately in the mix for them would increase, but right now the market for the slugging first basemen seems pretty well defined as just 2-3 teams apiece.
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.