Derek Jeter has yet to play this season, his shortstop fill-in Eduardo Nunez is on the disabled list with an oblique injury, and now the fill-in’s fill-in, Jayson Nix, is on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Nix has been the Yankees’ primary shortstop since mid-May, but has hit just .236 with two homers and a .607 OPS in 73 games. Of course, that looks like pretty solid production compared to the infielder the Yankees just signed to fill his roster spot, Luis Cruz, who was let go by the Dodgers earlier this week after hitting .127 in 45 games.
So now the Yankees are on their fourth-string shortstop and Cruz has gone from being employed by the team with MLB’s second-highest payroll to being employed by the team with MLB’s highest payroll.
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.