Assuming all continues to go well with Chad Billingsley’s elbow, the Dodgers figure to explore possible trades for Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, who both project to begin the season in the bullpen. With that in mind, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that the Brewers and Orioles had scouts in attendance today as Harang threw three scoreless innings in a minor league game.
No word on whether the Brewers and Orioles are currently involved in negotiations with the Dodgers, but it’s not surprising to see either club in the mix. The Brewers have Yovani Gallardo heading their rotation, but Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta, Mark Rogers and Mike Fiers don’t have of a track record and Chris Narveson is working back from shoulder surgery. Meanwhile, the Orioles are similarly relying on multiple pitchers with relatively little major league experience. There are also questions about Jair Jurrjens’ health and whether Miguel Gonzalez’s small sample of success from last year is legitimate.
Harang, 34, posted a 3.61 ERA and 131/85 K/BB ratio over 179 2/3 innings last season. He is owed $7 million this season while his $7 million mutual option for 2014 includes a $2 million buyout.
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.