Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was asked Thursday by CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury where he envisions left-hander Cole Hamels opening the 2013 season:
“He’ll be here,” Rollins replied. “He’s not going anywhere. He was drafted by this organization, raised by this organization and became a superstar in this organization. If you know anything about this organization, that means he’s not going anywhere. It’s fun to talk about for talk radio and stuff like that. But he’s not going anywhere. That’s my opinion.”
It’s exactly the type of thing you’d expect a teammate to say, but Rollins is probably being too optimistic. Hamels has registered a sparkling 2.92 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 405 strikeouts and just 105 walks over the past two seasons and could hit the jackpot in free agency if his ace-like numbers continue in 2012. For him to sign now with Philadelphia, it would take a contract extension worth well over $100 million. And there’s been no indication from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that an offer like that is coming. The Dodgers, who will soon have a new, deep-pocketed owner, are likely to be major players in the Hamel sweepstakes if the 28-year-old southpaw indeed reaches the free agent market.
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.