Oscar Taveras’ ankle problems have lingered following last season’s surgery and now the stud outfield prospect is having hamstring issues in the same leg, so it sounds like the Cardinals have all but ruled out his making the team.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Taveras “needed for everything to go right” to make the team out of spring training to begin with and the injuries have made it impossible to see him in game action.
Which is no big deal as long as Taveras can eventually get healthy, because he’s still just 21 years old, still one of the best prospects in baseball, and still could benefit from some time at Triple-A after missing all but 46 games there last season.
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.