Dodgers attendance is not what it seems

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Based on how it was teased by the reader who emailed it to me, I kept reading this article about Dodgers’ attendance figures, waiting for something scandalous to come out.  There really isn’t anything like that, but it’s an interesting read about the business of ticket sales and attendance anyway.  The upshot:  the Dodgers sell a lot of tickets, but they have a lot of no-shows too and it paints a somewhat deceptive picture of how they’re doing at the gate.

But there were some interesting tidbits in the piece. For instance, the Dodgers have lost 14% of their season-ticket base in the past two years. This despite the fact that the team has made the playoffs. I’m assuming every team is down due to the economy — and I wish we had a baseline for other teams’ losses in the article — but my gut reaction to that is that it’s high for a team that has been winning.

The other thing that was interesting was that, while the Blue Jays are always cited as the first team to sell 4 million tickets, the Dodgers actually did it in 1982, a decade earlier than the Jays did. Except back then then NL counted attendance based on how many people actually went through the turnstiles, not on tickets sold as the Jays did in 1992 and all teams do now.

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.