Rather than accept another minor-league contract and try to pitch his way back to the majors again 37-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia has signed with the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan, where he’ll be the highest-player in the history of the league.
Who previously held that distinction? None other than Manny Ramirez, who played in Taiwan last season and hit .352. Garcia’s deal is worth $56,000 per month for seven months, according to the Associated Press, and apparently Ramirez’s positive experience playing in Taiwan helped convince Garcia to follow suit.
Garcia looked set to be part of the Braves’ starting rotation coming out of spring training, but instead Atlanta opted to release him. Now he’ll earn quite a bit more than he would have pitching at Triple-A and, if Ramirez’s experience is any indication, Garcia will probably have a lot of fun playing in Taiwan too.
Announcement: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $150,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $200 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
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.