Report: Orioles offer up young arms for Millwood

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MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Orioles offered Brandon Erbe and David Hernandez to the Rangers for Kevin Millwood, but that talks have now “cooled off.”
Judging by the fact that the Orioles were prepared to surrender two intriguing right-handers, they must have been expecting Texas to pick up a significant portion of the $12 million that Millwood is owed next season. Even if the Rangers were willing to go that route, it’d sure make a lot more sense for the Orioles to keep their arms and go out and sign a Jon Garland or Doug Davis for their rotation.
Millwood is likely a better pitcher of those two, but it’s well worth remembering that he did post ERAs of 5.16 and 5.07 in back-to-back years before rebounding to 3.67 last season. Even his 2009 was marred by a mediocre second half. April and June were the only months of the season in which he posted a sub-4.00 ERA.
Plus, Millwood would likely be nothing more than a one-year option for a team likely to finish in fourth or fifth place. He might not even bring any draft picks as a free agent, considering that his generous salary would make offering him arbitration a risk. Taking Millwood and his salary while giving up nothing in return would be an acceptable move for the Orioles. There’s just no good reason to give up young talent for him, though.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.