So says the Boston Herald’s John Tomase:
The clubhouse is eleventy-billion times better than it was over the last two years. General manager Ben Cherington set out to address the black hole made all the worse by the presence of Bobby Valentine last year, and if March is any indication, he has succeeded.
The vibe in the room couldn’t be any different, or frankly, any better. It starts with manager John Farrell, who has thus far commanded the respect of his players without leaving any knives in anyone’s back.
Tomase cites the influx of many new faces as another factor, as well as the exit of the “defiant” Josh Beckett and “aloof” Adrian Gonzalez.
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.