Sabean on Pablo Sandoval: shape up or ship out!

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Giants’ beat writer Hank Schulman spoke with Brian Sabean. Pablo Sandoval came up. Schulman says that, according to Sabean, “Panda starts next year in minors if he doesnt get his act together.”

I’m assuming this is primarily about his conditioning, which many felt was responsible for his pretty terrible 2010 season. Conditioning so poor that a guy who was supposed to be a key component for the Giants was a complete non-factor in the postseason and watched from the bench as his teammates won it all. And he capped that off by being photographed as he prepared to dig in to a giant Buca di Beppo sundae. Which isn’t exactly a great moment in messaging.

Last year the Giants’ offseason was dominated by talk of “Camp Panda,” the team’s effort to get Sandoval into shape.  That obviously didn’t work, because he looked as big as Peterbilt once spring training came around and it only got worse after that. This winter, I suspect, that they won’t consider Sandoval’s condition  to be their primary responsibility Because, quite frankly, they’ve shown that they don’t need him in order to win.  It’s gonna be up to him to decide if he wants to be around for more winning.

If he fails? Big trouble for Sandoval. Because there ain’t no Bucca di Beppo in Fresno.

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.