Allen Craig has passed whatever tests he needed to pass, because Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced that the injured first baseman will be on the World Series roster after not playing since September 4 due to a foot injury.
Craig has been hitting for a while now, but the issue is whether his foot will allow him to run well enough to make a pinch-runner unnecessary. And it’s unclear if he’ll be more than a pinch-hitting option during the games in St. Louis without a designated hitter.
Either way, considering the weakness of the Cardinals’ bench getting Craig back at even a fraction of his healthy self will help. He hit .315 with 13 homers and an .830 OPS in 134 games during the regular season, including ridiculous numbers with runners in scoring position.
Matt Adams has hit .268 with one homer and a .724 OPS in 11 playoff games subbing for Craig at first base.
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.