With Justin Upton circulating in trade rumors once again, many have speculated that the Rangers could be a perfect fit. We’re still in the early days of the Hot Stove, so things could change in a hurry, but a deal appears unlikely right now.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Rangers aren’t willing to include Elvis Andrus or top prospect Jurickson Profar in a swap for Upton. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported this morning that the Diamondbacks don’t love Mike Olt as a centerpiece of a deal and would prefer Andrus or Profar, so unless somebody eventually blinks, the two clubs won’t be a match.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic caught up with Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers tonight, who said that he’s in “no rush” to make a deal and doesn’t expect to make a trade for a frontline starting pitcher, “even in an Upton deal.” This would seem to indicate that he’s targeting a third baseman or shortstop.
Upton, 25, is set to earn $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25 million in 2014, and $14.5 million in 2015. Andrus, 24, will earn $4.8 million next season and $6.475 million in 2014 before hitting free agency.
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.