Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles

Adam Jones: “I would slap Jim Palmer around”

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File this under “good-natured jab,” not “trash talk,” but it’s still fun:

What would happen if Adam Jones faced Jim Palmer in his prime?  Jones answered that and many more questions in a live online Q&A with MASNSports.com‘s Amber Theoharis on Wednesday afternoon.

“I would slap Jim Palmer around,” Jones quickly responded.  ”I told Palmer that,” he laughed with Amber.

Jones added that Palmer would have more difficulty today with umpires using a smaller zone. “They had that chest high strike zone back then.”

So he’s being funny, yes, but he also has a good point about that high strike.  I came of baseball age when Jim Palmer was still dealing and I can’t remember how many times I heard Ernie Harwell say “a strike at the letters …”  The only time you ever see a strike at the letters called these days is on a 3-0 count when the hitter makes it clear from the time the pitcher sets that he has no intention of swinging.

The zone has changed pretty radically over the years. Just one of those things a lot of people forget when talking about the crazy offense we saw in the 90s and 2000s.

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.