Your latest addition to the Cliff Lee Derby: the White Sox

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Larry Stone of the Seattle Times “hears rumblings” that the White Sox are “kicking the tires” on Cliff Lee.  Setting aside the fact that it’s only July 8th and the “kicking the tires” metaphor is already played out, this is an interesting one to think about.  Jake Peavy is done for the year, so there’s an opening.  The White Sox could probably use a bat more than another arm, but if you’re going to win with pitching, hell, might as well win with really freakin’ spectacular pitching.

Peavy, however, is also the biggest thing working against such a deal. In that acquiring Peavy was Kenny Williams’ big move and, his last handful of starts notwithstanding, the move has been kind of a disaster. I know Williams is audacious and everything, but going back to the well for another ace seems rather risky from a job security standpoint.  He’s got a team that’s absolutely rolling right now. If Williams makes a big deal like that and things go sideways, he gets blamed for messing with the team’s chi. And that’s even assuming the Sox have the prospects to make such a deal, which is no sure thing.

The rest of Stone’s column is worth a read.  It’s more speculation about what could happen with Lee than rumor, but it’s new and interesting
speculation that gives a more nuanced analysis of Jack Z’s though process than the “the Mariners want a ton of prospects” stuff we’ve been seeing from everyone else.  Stone’s a good writer and he understands how the Mariners work better than just about everybody.

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.