Quick Hits: Yankees, Royals, Orioles, Hochevar

MLBTR would like to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas.  Here's tonight's look around baseball..

  • Yankees catcher Austin Romine could make an impact this season following the departure of Russell Martin, writes MLB.com's Bernie Pleskoff.  Martin signed a two-year, $17MM deal with the Pirates in November.  The Yankees still could make a play for a starting catcher, but as it stands, they'll head into spring training with Romine, Chris Stewart, and Francisco Cervelli.
  • Royals left fielder Alex Gordon appreciates the moves that General Manager Dayton Moore has made in order to win in the short-term, writes Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star.  “To be honest, it seems like we’ve been sitting on prospects the last six years…It’s given them that option to be able to do that and go get a guy like James Shields and some of the other guys they’ve picked up. Yeah, it’s a risk-reward, but it’s something that you sometimes need to pull off," said the soon-to-be 29-year-old.  Gordon is signed through the next three seasons with a player option in 2016.
  • Some have theorized that the Orioles won't be able to bank on the good fortune that they enjoyed last season in 2013, but Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com notes that the club has plenty of setbacks to overcome.  The O's roadblocks led them to go through 52 players in the regular season and 178 roster moves in total.
  • While many Royals fans would like to see them dump Luke Hochevar and Jeff Francoeur, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter) doesn't see either player being given away for nothing.  Either player could be traded, but Kansas City will want something of consequence in return.  The Royals reportedly called the Rockies about Hochevar earlier this month, but nothing materialized from those talks.
  • Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looked ahead to the biggest storylines of 2013.  The Blue Jays now find themselves at center stage after acquiring R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and others this offseason.  The Dodgers will also feel immense pressure to win as they'll claim the highest payroll in baseball in 2013.
  • Left-hander Scott Kazmir is grateful for another shot at the major leagues, writes Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.  The soon-to-be 29-year-old inked a minor league deal with the Indians late last week.  Kazmir last pitched at an All-Star level in 2008, when he posted a 3.49 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.

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