Ron Washington thinks Cliff Lee will re-sign with Texas

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Cliff Lee is expected to choose between offers from the Rangers and Yankees on Monday.

While the free agent southpaw is off weighing pros and cons, we’re left wondering what he might do and trying to gather any clues.

So far the clue-finding has not been a fruitful venture.  The guess here is that Lee will chase the most lucrative contract he can find — just like any free agent would — and all indications have the Yankees offering more guaranteed money.

Don’t tell that to Rangers manager Ron Washington, who was giving out optimistic quotes on the matter Saturday evening while being inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame:

“[My gut says] that he’ll be here,” opined Washington.  “I think everything that needs to be done has been done. … We just have to wait.”

Lee, 32, registered a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts this past year.  He struck out 7.84 batters per nine innings and turned in a league-leading 0.76 BB/9 (walks per nine innings).  For reference, National League Cy Yong Award winner Roy Halladay came in second with a 1.08 BB/9.

The Yankees have apparently offered a seven-year contract worth around $161 million.  The Rangers have only been willing to go as high as six years, but new reports allege that a proposal with a seventh year option may be on the table.

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.