Matt Moore

Rays finish four-game sweep in Anaheim

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The Rays couldn’t manage so much as a hit or a walk Wednesday in Felix Hernandez’s perfect game, but look at what they did to the Angels’ starters in four games since:

Dan Haren: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER
Jered Weaver: 3 IP, 8 H, 9 ER
C.J. Wilson: 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 7 ER
Zack Greinke: 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER

That’s a combined $50.25 million worth of starting pitching, and the Rays just ate them alive on their way to sweeping a four-game series in Anaheim. They won 8-3 on Sunday and outscored the Angels a combined 37-14 in the four games.

The Rays now have the AL’s third-best record at 67-54, while the Angels have slipped to two games over .500 at 62-60. They’re not only nine games behind the Rangers, but they’re now four games back of the A’s for second place in the AL West.

Greinke has been a bust of an acquisition through five starts, going 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA. The Angels gave up three prospects to get him from Milwaukee last month, but they currently find themselves with the eighth-best record in the AL and they don’t stand to gain any compensation if he leaves as a free agent this winter.

The Rays, on the other hand, appear to be in fine position, particularly with Matt Moore having come on so strong. Moore was the winner today after allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last seven starts. He’s gone from 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA to 10-7 with a 3.57 ERA during that span.

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.