Confirmed: Jeremy Jeffress is the player to named in the Greinke deal

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We now know the identity of the player to be named later going to the Royals. It’s exactly who we expected it to be.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel are all reporting that Jeremy Jeffress will go to the Royals to complete the trade for Zack Greinke. The deal will be officially announced later this afternoon.

Jeffress, 23, missed the beginning of the 2010 season while serving the end of a 100-game suspension for a second positive marijuana test, but posted a 2.23 ERA and 43/12 K/BB ratio over 32 1/3 innings as a reliever between Single-A Wisconsin, High-A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville. The former 2006 first-round pick made his major league debut as a September call-up, posting a 2.70 ERA and 8/6 K/BB ratio over 10 innings. With a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s, some have called him a potential closer.

Now that we know Jeffress is definitely in the trade, it’s time to wonder if the Royals will soon be willing to part with Joakim Soria, as well. Soria, who turns 27 in May, is owed $4 million next season and has a series of club options from 2012-2014. It’s an affordable and flexible contract, so the Royals have no sense of urgency to deal him, but Jeffress at least gives them some insurance to begin listening.

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.