Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins have traded outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Cubs for outfielder Brian Bogusevic.
Ruggiano was pushed into extended action for the Marlins this year and struggled, hitting just .222 with a .694 OPS in 128 games, but if limited to a part-time role he’s capable of knocking around left-handed pitching. For his career Ruggiano has an .834 OPS versus lefties compared to a .700 OPS versus righties, so in Chicago a platoon with left-handed bats Nate Schierholtz or Ryan Sweeney makes sense.
Bogusevic is a former first-round pick, but that was all the way back in 2005 and he was drafted as a pitcher. Now he’s a 29-year-old outfielder and career .236 hitter with a .682 OPS in the majors. He did put up some big numbers at Triple-A this year, but the previous three seasons there were underwhelming.
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.