Placido Polanco

Phillies bench Placido Polanco for Kevin Frandsen

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In case it wasn’t already clear, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel basically admitted today that Placido Polanco has simply been benched.

Polanco is out of the lineup tonight for the fifth straight game in favor of 30-year-old journeyman Kevin Frandsen, and when asked about the situation Manuel told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that it’s not about Polanco’s health or anything except for Frandsen playing well.

And that’s true, as he’s hit .351 in 26 games for the Phillies after coming into the season as a career .243 hitter with a .636 OPS. Frandsen will come crashing back down to earth eventually, but the larger point is that he might actually have a place on the Phillies in 2013 whereas they’re all but certain to let Polanco go by declining a $5.5 million option.

Philadelphia was widely criticized for signing Polanco to a three-year, $18 million deal in December of 2009 and for that money he’s hit just .281 with a .686 OPS while missing 112 of a possible 452 games.

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.