Yesterday Ryan Howard was benched and rumors sprung up about the Phillies trying to trade him. The day before it was reported that the Phillies were considering simply eating Howard’s contract and releasing him.
Today Ruben Amaro says that’s nonsense. From Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. emphatically shot down reports that the organization is considering releasing struggling slugger Ryan Howard after the season.
“That is not something we are contemplating,” Amaro said Friday morning. “I don’t know where that’s coming from.
Well, the report came from sources who spoke to Salisbury the other day. And, while Amaro may not actually release Howard, how a GM can approach a problem like Ryan Howard without at least considering the idea of releasing him — it’s one of a couple of options obviously available to him — is rather curious. I realize he can’t exactly publicly say that he’s thinking about releasing one of his guys, but it doesn’t seem credible that the conversation hasn’t at least been had.
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.