The Red Sox are reportedly listening to offers for left-hander Jon Lester, but he might not be the only member of Boston’s rotation who ends up elsewhere prior to Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline:
It makes sense that the Red Sox are open to dealing Lester, as he’s an impending free agent and extension talks haven’t gone anywhere. They’ll likely get more back via trade than the value of a compensatory draft pick from a qualifying offer. Besides, there’s always the chance they could re-sign him even they trade him over the next few days. Lester brought up that possibility himself over the weekend. However, Lackey is a very different case, as his contract includes a $500,000 club option for 2015 as a result of his Tommy John surgery from 2012. With that kind of value, there’s an argument to be made that the trade package for him should rival that of Lester. He certainly won’t come cheap.
Lackey, 35, owns a solid 3.55 ERA over 50 starts dating back to the start of last season. His 133 ERA+ is 31st in MLB (min. 250 IP) during that timespan.
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.