We’re about 20 percent of the way through the season and rookie White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu leads baseball with 12 home runs, which is also the same number of home runs the Kansas City Royals have combined to hit as a team. Seriously.
Abreu has 12 homers in 141 plate appearances.
Kansas City has 12 homers in 1,109 plate appearances.
Here are the league leaders if we pretend for a moment that the Royals are one individual person who just weighs a lot and has 50 sets of limbs:
Jose Abreu 12
Kansas City Royals 12
Albert Pujols 10
Giancarlo Stanton 10
Jose Bautista 9
Nelson Cruz 9
Adrian Gonzalez 9
To put the Royals’ lack of power in some team-based context, consider that the Rockies have hit 44 home runs and the average non-Royals team has hit 28 home runs.
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.