The Mets are going with Jose Valverde as their closer now that Bobby Parnell is headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery, but they are keeping their options open.
Marc Carig of New York Newsday reports that the Mets are expected to attend a showcase for free agent reliever Joel Hanrahan, who is making his way back from Tommy John surgery. He’ll throw for teams in a few weeks and should contribute at some point in the first half if all goes well with his rehab.
Hanrahan has previous experience in the closer role and posted a 2.24 ERA with the Pirates from 2011-2012, so he could be a worthwhile flier for New York. Likewise, it could be an attractive destination for the 32-year-old right-hander, as he could get a chance to save some games before hitting the free agent market again next winter. It’s anybody’s guess how much Valverde has left in the tank and New York’s other internal options have limited major league experience, so it’s a situation to watch.
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.