Among players to debut since 1970, only Cal Ripken Jr. went to more All-Star Games than Tony Gwynn’s 15. Yet MLB chose not to honor the departed Hall of Famer during Tuesday’s contest at Target Field.
Instead, what we got during FOX’s All-Star Game broadcast was all of the Derek Jeter we could handle, a performance of Forever Young from Idina Menzel, and a Ken Rosenthal interview with commissioner Bud Selig that delayed the start of an inning. Obviously, the game wasn’t being played in San Diego or even a National League city, so perhaps the fans at Target wouldn’t have been so moved by a Gwynn ceremony. Or maybe they would have been. After all, they had their own Hall of Fame outfielder die young when Kirby Puckett passed on at 45.
UPDATE: FOX says it ran a feature on Gwynn
Gwynn died June 16 at age 54 after battling salivary gland cancer. A brief video tribute and a moment for silence was the bare minimum MLB should have done in his memory tonight. Flying in Phillies outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., if he were amenable, would have been a nice touch, too. Why MLB did nothing at all is a question that needs to be asked of Selig next time he’s interviewed.
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.