Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been resistant to use Brett Gardner in the starting lineup because he only has four at-bats in the majors (including one on Saturday) since his elbow injury in mid-April, but the team’s continued struggles on offense have them reconsidering matters.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was on the “The Michael Kay Show” today and said that Gardner is “a possibility” to be in the lineup when the ALCS continues in Detroit this week.
“He still might play a role in this thing,” Cashman said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show.” “You could very well see Gardner in this big outfield that Detroit has. The way our offense is, it is a possibility. He deserves consideration considering what is going on right now.”
Nick Swisher is just 4-for-26 (.154) with eight strikeouts during the postseason while Curtis Granderson is 3-for-26 (.115) with 14 strikeouts, so both players are at risk for being benched. If Girardi really wants to shake things up, he could sit them both and go with Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez in the outfield and Eric Chavez out of the DH spot, though the prospect of using the 40-year-old Ibanez in that spacious outfield is a little scary.
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.