It's finally official: Manuel and Minaya are gone

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The Mets just issued a press release saying that Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya have been “relieved of their duties.” This follows their morning release about the sun rising and anticipates their evening release about darkness falling. As soon as it came out a dozen fedora-wearing reporters rushed to pay phones to call in their scoop, they were so surprised.

Jon Heyman just tweeted that Minaya is being retained by the Mets to do . . . something.  I’ve argued that such a thing wouldn’t be the worst idea on the planet and that the Mets, not wanting to pay Omar to do nothing (he’s under contract next year) may want to keep him around.  Looking at it differently, however, there’s just way too much of a chance that his mere presence makes life difficult for his successor at GM. Well, more difficult than it will already be what with having to answer to Jeff Wilpon. I could see that part of things ending poorly.

Manuel, of course, is really gone.  I’m having a hard time shedding a tear for him.  He played a big part in Willie Randolph getting ousted a couple of years ago, allegedly serving as a conduit of player complaints about Randolph to the front office. Whether or not that was really a problem, he never showed any indication that he could inspire the Mets to do anything special, and he has certainly lost the confidence of the press, the fans talk radio and all of the usual constituencies that make managing in New York unique.

The Mets now embark on their quest to find a general manager who is savvy enough to fix the many things wrong with this team but desperate enough to where he’ll willingly subject himself to Jeff Wilpons’ caprice and the seeming mandate from ownership that you can’t rebuild in New York.  I don’t know who fits that description.  It may not matter unless ownership, in addition to changing managers and the GM, changes the way they’ve been doing things for the past several years.

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.