Texas signed Joakim Soria to a two-year, $8 million deal to serve as Joe Nathan’s setup man, but it won’t be for a while.
Soria told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that he’s targeting late May or early June for his return from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Soria underwent the surgery last April and many pitchers have returned with 12 months, but the former Royals closer called that timetable “not realistic” and noted that he’s yet to begin throwing off a mound.
Without Soria in the mix for the first 2-3 months the Rangers will lean on newly signed Jason Frasor along with guys like Josh Lindblom, Tanner Scheppers, and Robert Ross.
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.