Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington recently said that he hoped to have a resolution on a possible contract extension for Jon Lester by Opening Day, but he told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal today that the two sides have decided to “hit the pause button” on negotiations.
Cherington said that there has “a lot of good dialogue” with Lester’s camp in recent weeks, but they were unable to find a deal that worked for everyone and will now turn the focus toward the season. This doesn’t remove all hope for a deal, as both sides are still interested in an agreement and it’s possible that talks could be revived at some point during the season.
Lester, 30, is currently due to become a free agent this winter. He could be looking at a deal in the area of five years and $100 million on the open market.
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.