After the Diamondbacks surprisingly slithered in to sign Cody Ross to a three-year, $26 million deal over the weekend, the general feeling was that they would trade one of their outfielders. Not much has changed on that front over the Christmas holiday.
One person familiar with the Diamondbacks’ thinking told CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that “someone will go.” The implication here is that Justin Upton, Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra are all potentially available via trade. However, Heyman hears that the D-Backs would prefer to keep Parra because of his defense. It also helps that he’s cheap and remains under team control through 2015.
There are still quite a few teams who could be in the market for an outfielder, including the Rangers, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Braves and Rays. The Rangers have been mentioned most frequently in trade talks for Upton this offseason, but general manager Jon Daniels has reportedly been reluctant to part with Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar in a potential 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.