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Red Sox GM says landing free agent pitcher is “unlikely”

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The Red Sox have been linked recently to free agent pitchers Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt. But E-Jax apparently has better deals on the table from other clubs and Oswalt is thought to prefer a team in the middle of the country, like the Cards or Rangers.

Which leads us to the following report…

According to WEEI’s Alex Speier, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said Wednesday night that it’s “unlikely” a new pitcher joins the team’s rotation mix before the start of spring training later this month.

“We wouldn’t rule out adding a starter, but I think it’s unlikely at this point,” said the Red Sox general manager. “We’re going to keep looking for ways to improve the team, including the pitching staff, (but) I wouldn’t expect any major changes. … We think the lineup is pretty balanced and I think we have some options in the bullpen and that can be a strength. We like the front of the rotation. We’re going to find out more about the end of the rotation in spring training and see if guys step up.”

Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz are locks for Boston’s 2012 starting rotation. Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and Aaron Cook will compete for the other spots.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.