Troy Tulowitzki made it clear that he wanted to play for the United States in the World Baseball Classic despite missing most of last season following groin surgery, but the decision has been taken out of his hands by an insurance company.
Tulowitzki has $140 million remaining on his long-term contract and the Rockies have the deal insured, which means the insurance company gets to decide if they want him playing in an exhibition tournament. And they don’t, predictably.
It’s the same issue that Albert Pujols faced in potentially playing for the Dominican Republic and Joey Votto may run into the same problem for Canada. Obviously the WBC would love all the biggest stars to play, but the bigger the contract the smaller the chance they’ll be cleared to participate.
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.