When starter Ubaldo Jimenez joined the Orioles on a four-year, $50 million contract on February 19, he decided he wanted Kevin Gausman’s number 31. Gausman has gone through a handful of number changes, which CSN Baltimore’s Keely Diven explains:
Gausman wore No. 75 in spring training of last year, then switched to No. 37 for his first season in the big leagues. The Orioles’ new pitching coach Dave Wallace wanted No. 37 when he arrived, so Gausman switched to No. 31 in the first week of camp rather than turn down his new coach. That would have been the end of the number saga had the Orioles not signed Ubaldo Jimenez soon after. Jimenez wanted Gausman’s number, and as usual, he obliged and asked for nothing in return. Now, Wallace wears No. 37, Jimenez wears No. 31 and Gausman wears No. 39.
Jimenez didn’t let the good deed go unrewarded. Fellow starter Bud Norris snapped and then tweeted a picture of the two starters after Jimenez gave Gausman a Rolex watch as a thank-you for giving up the number.
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.