Fred Talbot, a right-hander from Virginia who pitched eight seasons in the majors for the Yankees, A’s, White Sox, and Pilots from 1963-1970, passed away last week at age 71.
Talbot had a 38-56 record and 4.12 ERA in 854 career innings despite playing in the pitcher-friendly 1960s, but I’ll forever remember him as a prominent character in the greatest baseball book of all time, Jim Bouton’s must-read “Ball Four.”
Bouton and Talbot often had an adversarial relationship as Yankees and Pilots teammates, but he was also portrayed as an amusing story-teller and the victim of a pretty great prank.
His obituary was published in the Washington Post.
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.