Carlos Beltran AP

Royals “insist” they’ll pursue Carlos Beltran, appear willing to offer three-year deal

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The Yankees were mentioned as the favorites to sign Carlos Beltran earlier this week, but the Royals haven’t given up hopes of reuniting.

According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Royals “insist” that they will pursue Beltran and appear willing to meet his preference of a three-year contract. This comes on the heels of CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman pegging the club as a “serious threat” last weekend.

“We’d love to have him in,” one Royals official said. “One thing about Carlos Beltran is he’s a money player. He’s an RBI guy. He produces.”

As these things usually go, it will all come down to money. With that in mind, the Royals would likely have to shed payroll in order to make room for Beltran. Dutton speculates that Billy Butler could be at the top of the list of available players, along with some of their high-priced relievers. Still, with the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers, Orioles and Mariners all in the mix for Beltran, the bidding could climb higher than the Royals are willing to go.

Beltran, who turns 37 in April, batted .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI over 145 games this past season. He spent the first seven years of his career in Kansas City, so if he can return to his roots and remain healthy and productive into his late-30s, it would pretty much clinch him going into the Hall of Fame in a Royals cap.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.