There was a ton of speculation about Joe Girardi leaving the Yankees for the Cubs as a free agent manager, but New York general manager Brian Cashman said yesterday that he was never all that worried.
Cashman told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com that the Cubs’ interest in Girardi was “expected” after they fired Dale Sveum, but added:
I went to Joe. I said: “If this is something you want, let me know and we’ll let you go.” But he said he wanted to stay, so we were able to work it out. I never felt he was leaving us. If he wasn’t on board, then we would have cut him loose and let him talk to anybody.
And of course Girardi got a nice bump in salary for staying, so it worked out well for him too.
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.