Toronto had a pair of first-round draft picks this year thanks to failing to sign last year’s first-rounder and they’ve agreed to deals with both of them.
No. 9 overall pick, right-hander Jeff Hoffman, and No. 11 overall pick, catcher Max Pentecost, have reportedly agreed to the slot-recommended signing bonuses of $3.1 million and $2.9 million respectively.
Hoffman slipped in the draft following Tommy John elbow surgery, which also likely played a part in his accepting a slot signing bonus. He’ll miss all of this season and perhaps the early part of next year as well while recovering from the mid-May operation. He was in the mix to be a top-three pick before the injury.
Pentecost won the Johnny Bench Award as the country’s top college catcher, putting up incredible offensive numbers at Kennesaw State. He has the potential to move pretty quickly through the Blue Jays’ farm system.
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.