After securing Brad Penny as a non-roster invitee yesterday, the Royals added another familiar name today by signing reliever Guillermo Mota to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Mota hasn’t pitched professionally since 2012 as a member of the Giants when he posted a 5.23 ERA over 26 appearances. He served a 100-game suspension that year after his second positive test for performance-enhancing drugs. That was the longest PED suspension ever before Alex Rodriguez’s recent ban. Miguel Tejada was handed a 105-game suspension last summer, but it was for amphetamine use.
Mota owns a 3.94 ERA over 14 seasons in the majors. He’ll turn 41 in July.
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.