Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported last Sunday that free agent left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo was drawing interest from “three West Coast teams.”
We can now identify one of those clubs.
According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the Mariners have been “looking closely” at Kuo recently and could be moving toward an agreement.
Kuo surrendered 29 runs in 27 innings last season out of the Dodgers’ bullpen and has undergone five elbow surgeries in his career, but he posted a dominant 1.20 ERA and 73/18 K/BB ratio across 60 innings in 2010 and has held left-handed batters to a .205/.282/.318 batting line for his career. The 30-year-old southpaw might be worth the risk for Seattle and other clubs on a non-guaranteed minor league contract.
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.