White Sox reportedly planning waiver claim on Manny Ramirez

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote this morning that “claiming Manny Ramirez off waivers would be nuts.” And now he’s reporting that the White Sox plan to place a waiver claim on Ramirez.
General manager Ken Williams and the White Sox were said to be interested in Ramirez prior to the July 31 trade deadline, so Chicago’s apparent willingness to take what now amounts to little more than a $4 million flier on the 38-year-old slugger certainly isn’t surprising. Or particularly crazy, despite what Rosenthal suggests.
Ramirez certainly isn’t the dominant offensive force he once was and has also been limited to just 62 games because of injuries, but if reasonably healthy he’s still a damn good bat. He’s hit .312/.404/.508 overall this season, which is good for a .912 OPS that ranks seventh among all MLB outfielders with at least 200 plate appearances.
Beyond that, the White Sox’s have a gaping hole at designated hitter caused by the misguided decision not to re-sign Jim Thome at manager Ozzie Guillen’s urging this offseason. Thome has been amazing for the Twins with a .269/.393/.583 mark that tops the measly .237/.308/.401 cumulative production from the White Sox’s designated hitters by 267 points of OPS.
Ramirez can’t get back the production and games lost by choosing to replace Thome with Mark Kotsay, but his still-powerful right-handed bat would fit very well into the White Sox’s lineup and by using him primarily at DH they could cross “defense” off the list of potential issues.
Of course, just because the White Sox are planning to place a waiver claim on Ramirez doesn’t mean a team in front of them won’t do the same, and even if Chicago ends up with the winning claim they’d still have to work out a deal for him unless the Dodgers are simply willing to give him away to save money.
As usual, Ken Williams has plenty of gamble in him.

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.