For many and probably even most teams a 24-year-old prospect as good as Mike Olt would be set for an everyday role, but the Rangers’ third base and corner outfield depth means he’s headed back to the minors.
Today the Rangers assigned Olt to Triple-A, which he skipped in jumping from Double-A to the majors last August. Olt did hit .288 with 28 homers and a .977 OPS in 95 games at Double-A, but Adrian Beltre is blocking him at third base, David Murphy and Nelson Cruz are blocking him in the outfield, and the Rangers smartly don’t want him wasting away on the bench when he could be playing regularly at Triple-A.
Olt, who hit just .152 in his 16-game debut last year, ranks 22nd on Baseball America‘s annual list of MLB’s top prospects.
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.