The word out of Los Angeles recently was that Tony Gwynn Jr. was a possible non-tender candidate, but so much for that thought. The Dodgers signed the speedy outfielder to a new two-year, $2 million deal on Monday.
The contract covers Gwynn’s two remaining years of arbitration eligibility. The 29-year-old hit .256/.308/.353 with two homers, 22 RBI and 22 steals in 312 at-bats for the Dodgers last season.
Obviously, the money isn’t very significant here. Still, Gwynn isn’t a great use of a roster spot for a team with an outstanding and extremely durable center fielder. Pretty much all of Gwynn’s playing time came in left field last season, and with a career .247/.319/.324 line, he’s just not enough of a threat offensively to be an asset there.
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.