Matt Holiday admitted to a mistake Monday after his late takeout slide knocked second baseman Marco Scutaro off his feet and forced him out of the game a couple of innings later. Still, he doesn’t think it reflects on him as a player.
“I’m not a dirty player,” Holliday replied when asked if he crossed the line. “Like I said, I wish I had started my slide a step earlier. When you’re out there in the heat of the moment, you’re trying to keep your team out of the double play. I play hard and was trying to break up a double play. That’s all it comes down to. I’m trying to break up a double play.”
Of course he was. It’s crazy to suggest that Holliday went into second base with any intent to injure. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it was a terribly reckless move, one that shouldn’t have any place on the baseball diamond.
Fortunately for everyone, Scutaro ended up day-to-day with a hip injury instead of being sidelined for months with a blown out knee or a busted ankle. And fortunately for Holliday, there’s simply no precedent in MLB for punishing a player for such a slide. That’s something the league really should take a look at this winter.
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.