Henry Urrutia, who signed with the Orioles last year around this time after defecting from Cuba, is on his way to the majors according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
Urrutia posted huge batting averages in Cuba and the 26-year-old outfielder/first baseman hit .365 with seven homers, 20 doubles, and a .958 OPS in 67 games between Double-A and Triple-A to earn the quick promotion.
He signed for less than $1 million, so the Orioles have to be pretty thrilled with that modest investment right now as they look to the left-handed hitter to provide a boost to what is an already dangerous lineup. Baltimore scored the league’s third-most runs in the first half and led the league in homers, but their designated hitter production has been lacking and Urrutia figures to get a long look there.
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.