Despite yesterday’s reports that the Rakuten Golden Eagles have decided not to post Masahiro Tanaka, the team insists that it is still having internal discussions on the matter and has not made a decision one way or another.
There is no timetable for decision, and players can be posted up until February 1. While it’s unlikely that Rakuten will dilly dally that long, it’s thus theoretically possible that we won’t know where Tanaka is playing until around the time pitchers and catchers report, assuming maximum negotiating time and all of that.
Stay tuned for additional reports. Which, given how things have gone, will almost certainly contradict previous reports and then will be subsequently contradicted themselves.
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.