Joel Zumaya threw for a big group of teams earlier this month and reportedly topped out in the mid-90s with his fastball, leading to lots of optimism about the oft-injured reliever’s latest comeback.
However, an unnamed American League general manager told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that “our doctors don’t think he would pass the physical based on what they see.”
Zumaya hasn’t pitched since gruesomely fracturing his elbow in mid-2010, but physical exams can of course be waived and he may also decide to wait another month or two before signing anyway.
Whatever the case, if he’s throwing 95 miles per hour again and is willing to accept a minor-league contract some team will certainly take a flier on Zumaya, who despite all his arm problems is still just 27 years old and has never ceased being effective in between disabled list stints.
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.