Bobby Abreu said last week that he’ll ask for a trade if the Angels aren’t going to use him as an everyday player, but apparently now he’s fine with something less than an everyday role.
There’s no getting around the fact that the Angels’ first base/corner outfielder/designated hitter logjam means Abreu will be a part-time player if he isn’t traded before Opening Day, but general manager Jerry Dipoto tried to assuage the 38-year-old’s playing time worries today by saying he’s in line for around 400 plate appearances.
Abreu got 585 plate appearances last season and it was his first time under 650 plate appearances since 1998. In other words, he’s basically never been a part-time player.
Abreu told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that 400 at-bats “is fine with me,” although it’s worth noting that the Angels cited 400 plate appearances, rather than 400 at-bats, which can be a big difference considering Abreu’s walk rate. Whatever the case, I still think there’s a strong chance he’s moved between now and the end of spring training if Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo get healthy.
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.