As if hitting .195 after being tasked with replacing A.J. Pierzynski as the White Sox’s starting catcher wasn’t enough to ruin Tyler Flowers’ season, now he’s undergoing exploratory shoulder surgery.
Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that Flowers is expected to miss 3-6 months, which means he may not be ready for the beginning of next season.
Flowers had already lost the starting job to Josh Phegley, although he’s been nearly as bad as Flowers and it’s unclear what the White Sox’s plan behind the plate for next season will be. As a group Chicago catchers have hit .201 with a .592 OPS that ranks second-worst in all of baseball ahead of only Miami.
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.