There have been a lot of varying reports and mixed signals about Johan Santana’s health status and potential readiness for Opening Day, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News paints a picture that’s anything but optimistic.
According to Martino “the Mets’ private expectations for Santana’s April 1 availability are even grimmer than their public line” and “there is almost no chance that Santana avoids the disabled list at the beginning of the season.”
Obviously having Santana feeling good enough to start on Opening Day would be ideal, but missing a couple starts and rejoining the rotation in mid-April would hardly be disastrous. Of course, right now that’s looking more like the best-case scenario than the likely scenario, although Santana did some light throwing yesterday to show a little progress.
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.