The Athletics finally addressed their weakness at shortstop late tonight, acquiring Stephen Drew from the Diamondbacks for minor league infielder Sean Jamieson.
John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR in Phoenix reports that the trade was made after Oakland claimed Drew off waivers from Arizona two days ago. The Diamondbacks will save a little over $3 million in the deal.
Drew was mentioned as a possible target for the A’s leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline last month and represents a potential upgrade over Cliff Pennington. Oakland has a major-league worst .187 batting average and .545 OPS out of the shortstop position this season.
To be fair, Drew is hitting just .193/.290/.311 with two home runs, 12 RBI and a .601 OPS in 40 games since returning from ankle surgery in late June, but his track record provides reason for optimism. Drew’s contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2013 or a $1.35 million buyout.
Jamieson, 23, owns a lowly .234/.345/.354 batting line and a .699 OPS over his first two pro seasons. He’s known as a solid defender and has some speed, but it appears that the Diamondbacks were mostly motivated to save some cash here.
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.