The Mike and Ike Show on 94WIP in Philly is reporting that the Phillies will sign Marlon Byrd Ken Rosenthal has confirmed the deal. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.com reports that the deal is for two years, $16 million.
Byrd, who is 35, hit .291/.336/.511 with 24 homers and 88 RBI for the Mets and Pirates. His right-handed power is scarce on the market and, after last season, when many teams passed, he may be a more attractive target than most people’s gut may tell them. Sure, Granderson, Choo, Cruz and some others will be better, but they’ll also cost more. Corey Hart has health questions. Raul Ibanez is ancient. Carlos Beltran probably wants to go to a winner and is increasingly becoming immobile. And remember: the Phillies gave nearly 300 plate appearances to Delmon Young last year, so this is a sharp upgrade.
Byrd will be returning to the franchise which drafted him in 1999 and for whom he played in the majors from 2002 through the early part of 2005. $16 million is a lot of money, but we’re in a world where a lot of players will be making a lot more money than we might expect them to. The real key isn’t the money: it’s whether spending the money prevents the Phillies from doing other things they want to do.
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.