Mariners asking for “an impact bat” in deal for David Aardsma

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Responding to speculation that Colorado is interested in Seattle closer David Aardsma, Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes that “multiple sources with knowledge of both teams told MLB.com that the Mariners are in search of an impact bat and there isn’t a fit with the Rockies.”

Of course, the definition of “an impact bat” probably varies quite a bit. My personal definition tends to mean something along the lines of a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter, and there’s basically zero chance of any team trading the Mariners someone like that for Aardsma.

Seattle shopped him prior to the trading deadline in July and didn’t find an acceptable deal, and with this offseason’s abundance of quality free agent relievers it seems unlikely that anyone is going to overpay for Aardsma this time around.

With that said, he’d be a worthwhile target for teams scared of handing out three-year deals to relievers. Aardsma is under team control through 2012 as an arbitration eligible player and figures to earn around $4 million in 2011.

His control is spotty, but Aardsma has 69 saves with a 2.90 ERA, .193 opponents’ batting average, and 129 strikeouts in 121 innings over the past two seasons. If the Mariners’ definition of “an impact bat” really just means “a useful bat” then quite a few teams should be interested.

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.