M’s trade Jose Lopez to Rockies for minor league pitcher

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Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is widely regarded as one of the smartest and most forward-thinking front office executives in all of baseball.  Things didn’t work out in 2010, when the M’s finished with a hideous 61-101 record, but the man they call “Jack Z” is again earning his reputation this winter.

According to Shannon Drayer of Seattle’s 710 ESPN, the Mariners have dealt infielder Jose Lopez to the Rockies for minor league pitcher Chaz Roe.

Roe posted an ugly 5.98 ERA and 1.67 WHIP this year at the Triple-A level and is far from a top prospect, but the M’s had planned on non-tendering Lopez before Thursday night’s deadline and it’s absolutely incredible that Jack Z was able to find a trade partner with just hours to go.

Lopez is likely to see regular action at second base next season in Colorado.  He hit just .239/.270/.339 over 593 at-bats in 2010, but he does have a decent power stroke and should be able to let that shine at Coors Field.  Granted, he will cut into the development of young Colorado two-bagger Eric Young Jr.

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.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.