Mike Trout won Rookie of the Year and will finish runner-up for MVP, but surely this will be his proudest accomplishment for 2012: Trout has been named the “Heart and Hustle” award winner.
Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association gives the annual award to the “player who demonstrates a passion for the game and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of baseball.”
Each of the 30 teams had a finalist and that list amusingly included Melky Cabrera representing the Giants despite his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
And in accepting the award Trout put himself in position to win cliche-giver of the year as well: “I take pride in these awards. I go out there and give 110 percent every time and leave it all on the field. There’s only one thing in baseball, and I think it’s to win and just have fun.”
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.