The Brewers used to have Corey Hart at first base and tried to bring him back. Then they were rumored to be into Logan Morrison. The Mariners jumped in front of them on both counts because, apparently, they want all of the first baseman. Heck, they now have both of those guys and Justin Smoak. And the guy who will likely be playing first base in three years just signed for $240 million to be their second baseman. Just greedy, really.
But the Brewers need one too, and with so few options available, they are talking to one of the few free agents who could be counted on to play a decent first base most days of a season: James Loney.
Loney is coming off a nice season with the Rays in which he hit .299/.348/.430 with 13 home runs and 75 RBI in 158 games. But that was really front-of-the-season loaded and was way better than he’s usually good for in a year. Still: he plays good defense, is durable and Miller Park is hitter friendly, so there are way worse directions in which to go if you’re the Brewers.
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.