David Pauley

Tigers release reliever David Pauley

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The Tigers hoped they were picking up two key pieces for their pitching staff when they acquired Doug Fister and David Pauley from the Mariners last summer, but while Fister exceeded even their highest expectations, Pauley was a dud, and the reliever earned his release from the team on Monday.

Pauley, who had a 2.15 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in 54 1/3 innings before the trade, went 0-2 with a 5.95 ERA for Detroit. The Tigers made the choice to move on after he gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning in his third appearance of the spring.

One wonders if the Mariners might make a move to reacquire Pauley now. The 28-year-old has always been viewed as a fringe pitcher because of his below average fastball, but he allowed just two runs and 13 hits in 27 innings at Safeco Field last season. The big ballparks certainly suit his game, so he might also be of some interest to the Padres, A’s or Rays.

With Pauley out of the mix, the Tigers will have a job up for grabs in their pen. Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel, Daniel Schlereth and Collin Balester are set for six spots. If they stick with their internal options, the vacancy could go Brayan Villarreal or Duane Below.

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.