With an MLB-worst 41-64 record the Rangers are obviously looking to sell at the trade deadline and right fielder Alex Rios seems likely to be moved before July 31.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that at least four teams have expressed interest in Rios, who has about $5 million remaining on his contract for this season and a $13.5 million team option or $1 million buyout for next season.
At age 33 he’s having a typical season, hitting .299 with a .754 OPS that nearly matches his .766 career mark. He has experience in all three outfield spots, although his defense no longer grades out as a big plus anywhere statistically. If contending teams believe he’s worth having around for $13.5 million in 2015 his trade value could be a bit higher than a typical two-month veteran rental, but Rios does have a limited no-trade clause to block six teams.
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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.
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.