Coming off his debut series against the Rockies in which he hit three homers, Javier Baez makes his home debut for the Cubs today against the Rays at Wrigley Field.
Over at CSNChicago.com, Patrick Mooney details how, in the space of just a few days, the Baez-hype has grown. Grown so much that Cubs brass is actively trying to downplay it some, reminding people of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Fun times.
Of course, Theo Epstein is probably getting pretty excited himself. Here he is behind the screen during BP today, watching Baez hit one out:
Baez won’t always be facing mediocre pitchers in Denver. But for now people in Chicago are pretty darn excited.
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.