Believe it or not, there are players besides Alex Rodriguez subject to MLB’s investigation of the Biogenesis clinic. Players like Nelson Cruz, whose loss due to a suspension would be a way more significant to the Rangers than A-Rod’s would be to the Yankees (heck, A-Rod could serve his suspension while on the disabled list, Edinson Volquez-style).
But even if the Rangers do face the loss of Cruz, T.R. Sullivan reports that they’re not gonna panic:
No, the Rangers have not renewed their interest in free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, according to industry sources. Even if the Rangers do lose Cruz until the beginning of June, the plan is still to go with what they have right now.
That may mean either Mitch Moreland or Mike Olt has to play the outfield.
Probably helps that, if discipline does come to Cruz over this, it will likely take a few months for it to happen. Makes perfect sense in my view not to panic to the tune of $80 million or whatever it is Bourn wants these days.
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.