Casey McGehee’s rapid decline has led to the 30-year-old heading to Japan.
Sankei in Japan reports that McGehee has agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million deal with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, which is the same team that signed Andruw Jones earlier this week.
As recently as 2010 he hit .285 with 23 homers and 104 RBIs for the Brewers, but McGehee has hit just .221 with a .632 OPS in 269 games since then, bouncing from the Brewers to the Pirates to the Yankees in the process.
Given the relatively modest payday in Japan it seems obvious that he couldn’t find a guaranteed major-league job for 2013, so he chose Rakuten over competing for a bench gig on a minor-league deal.
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.