Ryne Sandberg named PCL manager of the year

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Here’s one for the resume as the Cubs look for a new big league manager:

Ryne Sandberg will be named Pacific Coast League manager of the year today, the Iowa Cubs confirmed Thursday. In
Sandberg’s first season as Cubs manager, the team was a season-high 21
games over .500 entering Thursday’s contest at Albuquerque.

The article notes that Sandberg’s success has come “despite the fact
that there have been 107 player transactions” and eight
Iowa-to-Chicago callups for guys making their big league debut.  This kind of screams for context, though, because that’s pretty much life for an AAA manager. It wouldn’t shock me at all if several other PCL managers had to deal with that stuff.

Still, the award is another thing that’s going to make it harder for the Cubs as they choose their new manager. Not because it makes Sandberg an objectively better candidate or something, but because now, if the Cubs choose someone else for the job, every Chicago reporter who wants to take issue it will be able to add “2010 Manager of the Year” before the phrase “Ryne Sandeberg was passed over . . .”

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.