Josh Johnson

The Rangers are talking to the Marlins about Josh Johnson

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I already vented spleen about the Marlins sale. Some have responded to me saying that I’m overstating this, and it’s not THAT big of a sale.  So it’s probably worth noting that in addition to a starting pitcher, their would-be star third baseman and their starting second baseman, they’re talking about dealing their ace as well. Bob Nightengale reports:

The Marlins also have starter Josh Johnson on the trade block, and the Texas Rangers are one of the teams actively pursuing him, a Marlins executive told USA TODAY Sports, with the Rangers informing the Marlins they would be willing to part with third-base prospect Mike Olt.

The Rangers certainly need the rotation help, and Johnson would provide a boost as long as he stayed healthy.  Olt is 23 years-old, currently tearing up the Texas League. He has a strong arm and a lot of power at third, but is blocked by Adrian Beltre.  With Hanley Ramirez gone from Miami now, he’d be destined to take over third base for the Marlins.

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.