Marlon Byrd has resurrected his career by hitting .280 with 17 homers and an .832 OPS in 91 games for the Mets, who continue to say that they won’t trade the 35-year-old impending free agent unless they get blown away with an offer.
Whether or not you actually believe that is one thing, but it’s also worth noting that Byrd was just about ready to call it a career back in spring training. He was trying to make the Mets on a minor-league contract and more or less vowed to retire if he failed, saying:
I kind of look at it as a last chance. If I don’t make this team, I don’t see many other chances in baseball. That’s the way I’m playing, like it is my last chance.
Five months later he’s having the best season of his career and the Mets are debating whether trade offers for him are big enough.
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.