From ESPN’s Buster Olney comes word that the Yankees have agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract with right-handed starter Hiroki Kuroda.
The deal also includes some performance-based incentives, but they’re worth less than $1 million.
Kuroda was courted this offseason by the Dodgers and Angels, and was said to be considering simply heading back to his native Japan, but the Yankees were able to lure him in for another season with a pact worth slightly more than the $13.3 million qualifying offer that the 37-year-old turned down 10 days ago.
Kuroda posted a 3.32 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 33 starts this past summer for New York, fanning 167 batters while issuing only 51 walks in 219 2/3 innings. There’s no reason to expect a major drop-off in 2013.
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.