The Rangers announced yesterday that right-hander Ross Wolf was granted his release so that he could pursue an opportunity with the SK Wyverns in the Korean Baseball Organization.
Ross, 31, posted a 4.15 ERA and 21/15 K/BB ratio in 47 2/3 innings over three starts and 19 relief appearances with Texas this past season. He has had previous stints in the majors with the Athletics and Marlins.
Ross is the fifth former major leaguer to sign with a KBO team in the past week, joining Jorge Cantu, Thad Weber, Eric Thames and J.D. Martin. We’re talking mostly about fringe players here, so it’s easy to see why they jumped the opportunity for guaranteed money oversees.
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.