Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the goods:
Teams like the Astros and Mets are kicking around the possibility of adding Matsuzaka to their spring training camp to see if he can recapture the form he had in his first two seasons in Boston. Matsuzaka could also head back to Japan if he doesn’t get what he considers a good chance to make a major league roster.
In other words, his best bet here in the states is a non-guaranteed minor league contract and spring training invite. Matsuzaka posted a hideous 8.28 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 45 2/3 innings last summer for the Red Sox. He hasn’t been an effective pitcher since 2008, when he had a 2.90 ERA in 167 2/3 frames.
But rebuilding teams like the Astros and Mets can afford to take some risks this season.
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.