The Yankees aren’t the only team thinking about providing Vernon Wells another change of scenery.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Phillies have Wells “on their shopping list” this winter and could pounce if a trade winds up making sense. The Phillies are also known to have interest in free agent outfielder Cody Ross, though he’s been contacted by several teams and could become too pricey.
Wells is owed $21 million in 2013 and another $21 million in 2014, but the Angels are reportedly willing to eat a vast majority of that remaining salary so that they can clear playing time for some of their more productive players.
Wells, 34, batted just .230/.279/.403 with 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 262 plate appearances this past summer for Anaheim. He has a brutal .222/.258/.409 slash line over his last 791 plate appearances.
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.