Would Jason Bay have stayed in Pittsburgh, and other things

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While examining how things would have turned out if the Pirates tried
to retain Jason Bay, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
notes that the team hasn’t approached Andrew McCutchen about a long-term contract extension this winter.
Surely Bucs fans would love to see an Evan Longoria-type extension for
the 23-year-old spark plug, but don’t look for it to happen anytime soon — McCutchen isn’t eligible to be a free
agent until after 2015.

In a related story, Bay is scheduled to undergo a physical on Monday to finalize a four-year, $66 million contract with the Mets. Some have suggested that it might not be such a formality.

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.