Report: Angels offer Aybar, Saunders for Halladay

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The Toronto Sun is reporting that the Angels have offered up Erick Aybar, Joe Saunders and Peter Bourjos in exchange for Jays ace Roy Halladay.
The Aybar inclusion is big, given the complete lack of any other quality young shortstops on the market and Toronto’s intense desire for a long-term option at the position.
A big issue with the offer, though, is that both of the big pieces have three years of service time in, meaning they’re already set to make considerably more than the minimum. Both Aybar and Saunders are arbitration eligible this winter. They’re each due to reach free agency after 2012.
Bourjos is pretty much the best position player prospect the Angels can offer, but it’s pretty iffy whether he’ll make it as a regular. He hit .281/.354/.423 with 32 steals as a 22-year-old in Double-A last season. He can go get it in center field, but the offensive ability probably won’t be there to make him a top-of-the-order threat in the majors.
If the Angels made the deal, they’d get themselves an ace, but they’d open up a big hole at shortstop and they’d still be short a legitimate fifth starter. Using Brandon Wood at short and Maicer Izturis at third base is an option, but it’d leave the Angels with a much weaker infield defense than they possessed last season.
They might well have a better chance of winning the AL West with their current team and the extra $10 million in cash. Halladay, though, would seem to make them a much bigger threat in the postseason.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

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.