Shelley Duncan, Austin Kearns sign with the Indians

Leave a comment

Shelley Duncan would have probably been a nice addition to any number of teams last year, but he had the misfortune of being one of the few — the Yankees — that had absolutely no use for him. So he ended up sitting in Scranton last season, where he hit 30 homers.

Now he’s going to a team — the Indians — who could definitely use an inexpensive outfielder with some pop.  The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it’s likely a minor league deal.

Duncan hasn’t shown much in the majors — .219/.290/.411 in 163 plate appearances — but In nine minor league seasons, he’s a career .258/.345/.479 hitter with 170 home runs and 599 RBIs in 905 games. Last year his AAA OBP was .370.  Smart pickup by Cleveland.

The Tribe also signed former Red and Nat Austin Kearns as, shockingly, the Nats didn’t want to exercise his $10 million option. Back in the day I took all kinds of heat for being the only blogger on the planet to defend the Reds for trading him to the Nats.  Now who’s laughing?

Well, not me, because Gary Majewski sucked too, but I think it’s fair to say that the Reds got more out of Billy Bray and will get more out of Daryl Thompson than the Nats ever got out of Kearns and Lopez.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.