Matt Holliday and Cardinals are "on the brink of a deal"

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Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and GM John Mozeliak met with Scott Boras over the weekend, and that the team and Matt Holliday are “on the brink of a deal.” Tony La Russa acknowledged that a deal should be done this week, though he did say “At some point you have to go in one direction or the other,” suggesting that if it doesn’t get done very soon, it’s not going to happen at all.

Why? Because basically this is a situation in which the Cardinals are the only real player here. Yes, Boras has tried to create the illusion of competition, but St. Louis is ultimately bidding against itself if it does any significant additional bidding. Mozeliak knows this. Boras does too. As such, what’s likely happening now is not overall deal framework, but creativity around the edges — escalator clauses, vesting options and the like — all designed to allow one side or the other to spin the deal to their respective constituencies as a winner.

At this point, all I’m really interested in knowing is how close to right Jim Bowden was in all of this.
 

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.