Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann may have posted the best start in Nats’ history

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If you had asked me who had the best start in Washington Nationals history I would have assumed it was Stephen Strasburg, with any of his starts a few years back when his games were dubbed “Strasmas” and the entire world watched qualifying. But that’s not the case says Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:

By one objective measure, it stands as the best start in Nationals history. Bill James’s Game Score offers a way to compare starts . . . Zimmermann’s masterpiece adds up to 95 — the best this season in the majors and the best in Nationals’ brief history. John Patterson had held the mark since August 2005. And now they’re chasing Zimmermann.

Complete games help your game score more than striking out a ton of dudes in six or seven innings, which was Strasburg’s m.o. back in the day.

Zimmermann is on fire in June, posting 17 scoreless innings in his two starts. This after a terrible May. Indeed, all of the Nats starters are coming around. As Kilgore notes, Over their past six games, Nationals starters have struck out 44 batters and walked one.

And more importantly: the Nats are now in first place. Tied with the reeling Braves and the kinda sputtering Marlins. Anyone who picked the Nats to figure it out this year and win the NL East as many expected last year have to be feeling pretty good about their prediction right about now.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.