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D’Backs acquire third baseman Chris Johnson from Astros

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From MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart comes word that the Astros have acquired offensive prospects Bobby Borchering and Marc Krauss from the Diamondbacks for third baseman Chris Johnson.

At first glance, it’s another crafty deal for Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. Johnson had a nice showing in his first real chunk of major league playing time back in 2010, but the 27-year-old owns a .314 career on-base percentage and he doesn’t play great defense.

Borchering, meanwhile, has slugged 61 home runs in his first 394 major league games. The 21-year-old third baseman and corner outfielder was the 16th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. Krauss, a second-round pick in that ’09 draft, has a .924 OPS and 15 homers in 434 plate appearances this year in Double-A. He has a slugger’s profile.

Johnson will take over as Arizona’s primary third baseman. Ryan Roberts was recently traded to the Rays.

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.