First there was Neil Young’s “ditch trilogy.” Now we have Chris Jaffe’s “morbid trilogy.”
First, he looked at who lived the longest time after playing in a World Series. Then he looked at the last surviving men to have played for some important managers. Now he’s looking at who were the last surviving teammates of some of the game’s all-time greats:
The most recent all-time great to have no living teammates is the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. The disease that killed him forced him to retire in 1939. An outfielder for that club was Tommy Henrich, who died on Dec. 1, 2009. He was the last Yankee left who heard Gehrig say that he considered himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. The day Gehrig gave his famous speech, Henrich appeared as a pinch-hitter for the Yankees and made an out.
Beyond that factoid there are all kinds of neat ones that make one realize (a) how long baseball has been played; and (b) how long a human life is, even if we all tend to blow off things that happen in our day-to-day existence with phrases like “life’s too short to …”
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.