Shi Davidi of Sportsnet has an interesting column on the education of Brett Lawrie. Specifically, his demeanor towards the umps in light of his helmet toss last week and this week’s incident in which he ran across the field to confront an ump following a disputed call on the base paths.
After the latter call, manager John Farrell pulled Lawrie aside and seemed to get into it with him a bit:
“He was telling me his thoughts at the time, that he went to get an explanation,” said Farrell. “And he goes ‘Am I not allowed to do that?’ I said, ‘You’re allowed to ask an umpire anything that’s on your mind. But when you sprint at him, the body language speaks volumes.’
That’s the real issue. Umps, like anyone, hate to be shown up and no one likes to be berated. If a call goes against you, and you throw crap or sprint across the field to get up in their face, you’re gonna have a bad time of it. Lawrie will have to figure that out one way or the other.
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.