Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Tigers have signed right-hander Joel Hanrahan, who recently held a workout for teams to show them how he’s progressing in a return from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Hanrahan is expected to be ready for game action sometime in June and Heyman previously wrote that the Tigers, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox, and Rockies were all in the mix to sign the former Pirates (and very briefly Red Sox) closer.
Prior to an injury wrecked 2013 season in Boston he saved 40 games in 2012 and 36 games in 2011 for Pittsburgh, posting a combined 2.24 ERA with 128 strikeouts in 128 innings during that time.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski always loves hard-throwing pitchers and few throw harder than Hanrahan, who averaged 96.5 miles per hour with his fastball from 2011-2013. Joe Nathan has the closer job locked down in Detroit, but the 32-year-old Hanrahan could emerge as a late-inning setup man in the second half if his recovery goes smoothly.
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.