Apparently the Yankees and Russell Martin have fairly different ideas of what the catcher’s long-term worth is.
Following a round of negotiations this week, GM Brian Cashman said Friday that the two sides have “mutually agreed to wait” on working out an extension beyond 2012.
The 29-year-old Martin will make $7.5 million this season after avoiding arbitration with the Yankees. He signed with the Bombers as a free agent a year ago after being non-tendered by the Dodgers. He didn’t have the service time necessary to become a free agent through normal means after last season, but he will after this year.
CBS Sports.com’s Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees were willing to give Martin a three-year, $20 million deal this winter. That, however, would have amounted to a modest paycut.
Martin stands to join a bumper crop of free agent catchers this winter, with Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero and Mike Napoli all eligible as well. That might make Martin more amenable to a midseason deal, considering that he probably rates behind the other three players in the group in the eyes of most. Still, there’s no way he’s going to settle for less annually the $7.5 million he’s guaranteed for 2012.
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.