The Dodgers were contractually obligated to give Mattingly the job

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We now turn to the latest bit of evidence showing that the Dodgers couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag. Dylan Hernandez reports the following:

Before the start of this season, Mattingly had signed a deal that guaranteed him the manager’s job if Torre stepped down.

Look — I’m not going to quibble too much with the choice of Mattingly as the Dodgers’ manager. He’s a great guy by all accounts. While he hasn’t managed, he’s been the right-hand man of a Hall of Fame manager for the last several years.  He may very well do a fine job there and, because I loved him as a player, I really hope he does.

But what kind of an organization binds itself into hiring a guy via a contractual succession clause like that?  What if the reason Joe Torre stepped down was because the entire team turned on him in a clubhouse revolt? The Dodgers would then have to either install Mattingly nonetheless or else buy him out, likely at a premium over and above what he would have been paid.

Or maybe that’s really it: maybe they locked Mattingly in like that because Mattingly agreed to do the job dirt cheap. I haven’t seen any reports of his salary yet — though I have heard that the deal is for three years — but perhaps it’s peanuts.

But apart from rank parsimony, there is no business or baseball justification that I can think of for pledging to hire someone like the Dodgers apparently pledged to hire Mattingly.  If the Dodgers have one, I do wish they’d share it with the rest of us.

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.