UPDATE: It’s a done deal.
TUESDAY, 11:56 PM: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times hears that while a deal is not done yet, something is definitely in the works. It could be made official in the next day or two.
TUESDAY, 11:30 PM: Not sure how everyone missed this given how we’ve been dying for any baseball news lately, but Fernando Rodney told the Associated Press last week (link in Spanish) that he has agreed to a one-year contract with the Rays.
Rodney said that the deal is worth around $2 million and that he’ll get a chance to compete for the closer role. Given that he posted a 4.50 ERA and a 26/28 K/BB ratio (!) over 32 innings with the Angels last season, it’s pretty hard to believe the Rays would guarantee him that salary. No official confirmation from the club yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Rodney, who turns 35 in March, has a 4.29 ERA and 87 career saves over parts of nine seasons in the majors. His career walk rate of 4.9 BB/9 is ninth-highest among all pitchers (with at least 400 innings pitched) since he made his major-league debut with the Tigers in 2002.
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.