Tigers finalize three-year deal with Joaquin Benoit

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Another odd early-offseason deal is official.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit passed his physical on Thursday and officially signed a new three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Tigers.

Benoit registered a fantastic 1.34 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in 63 relief appearances for the American League East champion Rays this year, striking out 75 batters and walking only 11 in 60.1 innings.  But relievers are very year-to-year in performance and Benoit doesn’t exactly have the most consistent track record of success.

In 2007 with the Rangers he posted a 2.85 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 82 innings.  One year later, he finished with a 5.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP over 45 frames.  It seems likely that he will fall flat in the very same way up in Detroit.

Benoit will serve as a setup man for the Tigers behind Jose Valverde, another overpaid reliever.

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.