Yesterday the Athletics claimed Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar off revocable waivers. The two teams have until 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday to work out a trade. And, despite the fact that the teams seem to matchup pretty well on paper — the Rays got a younger, cheaper infielder in Nick Franklin from Seattle, the A’s lost Jed Lowrie to an injury — Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says that a trade is unlikely.
Mostly because the Rays aren’t treating Franklin like a shortstop. They’ve been playing him at second base at Durham. And the Mariners, it should be worth noting, played him at second far more often than short in the bigs as well, even though he played more short in the minor leagues.
Escobar is under contract through 2016 with a club option for 2017. Looks like he’ll be doing that as a Tampa Bay Ray.
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.