Joe Nathan’s deal with the Tigers is now official and it’s a two-year contract believed to be worth $20 million with a team option for 2016, when the closer will be 41 years old.
Nathan made the right call to turn down his $9 million player option with the Rangers, correctly predicting that he could get a multi-year deal for similar annual money even at age 39.
Since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery that cost him the entire 2010 season Nathan has thrown 174 innings with a 2.80 ERA and 194 strikeouts, including 43 saves with a 1.39 ERA and 73/22 K/BB ratio in 65 innings this year.
Also of note: Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told Jason Beck of MLB.com that he doesn’t expect to re-sign Joaquin Benoit as a setup man for Nathan because another team will probably sign him as a closer.
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.