Free agent left-hander Joe Saunders has already been linked to the Orioles and now Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that free agent right-hander Edwin Jackson also “intrigues” them.
Connolly speculates that Jackson will wind up with a four-year contract somewhere and notes that “the Orioles have been hesitant” to make that type of commitment to free agent pitchers in the past.
Because of that their focus may be on Saunders, who figures to be available cheaper and for a shorter commitment.
Jackson, much like Prince Fielder, is a Scott Boras client still on the market long after most of the other top free agents have signed, so gauging his remaining options is difficult.
Jackson threw 200 innings with a 3.79 ERA and 148/62 K/BB ratio last season and at age 28 is younger than most free agent starters, but he’s also pitched for six teams in the past seven seasons and owns a 4.46 career ERA.
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.