According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, free agent Jeff Francouer recently had LASIK surgery and has decided to go to a lighter bat in an attempt to salvage his career.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old Francoeur finished last season out of the league after being let go by the Giants in late August. On the heels of a rough 2012, he hit a combined .204/.238/.298 in 245 at-bats for the Royals and Giants.
Francoeur has long used one of the game’s biggest bats, but he’s going to try changing that up next season. According to Rosenthal, he and Baltimore’s Chris Davis were the only players in the league to use 35-ounce bats last season. A lighter bat might allow him to start his swing a bit later, giving him more time to realize that he might not want to flail at the 59-foot curveballs and heaters above his head.
Francoeur has hit .263/.306/.419 with 140 homers in nine big-league seasons. He’s probably going to have to accept a minor league contract with a chance to compete for a bench job next spring.
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.